Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Planting Garlic

Last weekend at the farm I finally got the garlic planted. Good thing. This weekend is supposed to be raining & snow flurries. I ordered the garlic from "We Grow" in Wisconsin. They have many varieties that have been grown in Wisconsin, so I thought it was a safe bet to order their product. I planted eight different kinds. Some hardneck, some softneck. Hardneck garlic is the kind that you get garlic scapes from. That is their flower stalk. Garlic scapes are really good. A mild garlic flavor. I have never grown softnecks. They are supposed to store better. You may ask "What is she going to do with all that garlic?" Of course, I will give some away to friends, but this time of year is when I start eating a clove a day to keep the germs away. Chopped up & drizzled with honey. It's really not that bad.
Before you get to the planting of the garlic, there are a few things you must do first. Inspect the garlic for any bruising or mold. You don't want to introduce any diseases into your garden. Next, "pop" the cloves which is dividing the heads into individual cloves. This should be done no more than two days before you plant. Pick out the biggest cloves to plant. Eat the rest. You will get stronger, hardier plants that way. Next, mark your stakes with the different varieties your growing. Now your ready!

Cultivate the soil to loosen.

Dig your rows so the garlic can be covered with about 2 inches of soil.

Cloves should be planted with the pointy side up.

They are spaced about 8" apart. When covering with soil. Be careful not to knock over the clove. You'll get funny shaped garlic heads.

About 4-6" of straw is used to cover the garlic to protect from heaving with the freeze & thaw cycle. Don't use hay! It has too many weeds. Believe me. I used it on my small herb garden last year & can't find the herbs now!
As with everything we do at the farm, it is an adventure/experiment. Last year I planted only one kind of garlic in a very small area. It was a hardneck variety I got from our local CSA in Illinois. Due to vacation & our accident, we didn't get to the farm for at least a month during peak weed season. I could hardly see the garlic growing due to the tall weeds. The stalks ended up going to flower before I could cut off the scapes. The garlic heads were very small. But they are still very tasty. I guess even with neglect, nature takes care of things.

1 comment:

joshua said...
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