Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Planting the Garlic

We finally got around to it.  Garlic should be planted about a month before the ground freezes (in areas where the ground does freeze).  I'm hoping that the mild weather has bought us some time. 

We planted 16 cloves last year and harvested 6 usable bulbs.  I can only blame myself for that, because the animals and bugs have left everything in the onion family alone in our garden.  I think I may have been overwatering; I'm not sure.  The goal is to re-plant some of what you grow, so we've sacrificed one bulb for that purpose.  

There are stiff-neck garlics and soft-neck garlics.  The soft-neck are what you usually find in the grocery store. The stiff-necks are the ones that grow scapes, which I prefer because we get to enjoy a pre-harvest treat.  They have a core at the center that the cloves grow around.
For best results, it's recommended that you order from a seed company in your region.  I found I had to order mid-Summer to have my choice, and they shipped it to me in the Fall.  You can try using store-bought garlic, but it has probably been treated so it won't sprout.

Last year's garlic was German Extra Hardy. I also ordered some Russian Red from Johnny's Seeds, and then a variety called Persian Star from Botanical Interests, once I realized we didn't have much of our own to plant and everything was already selling out. 
The Persian Star, at the top of the photo, was the nicest looking garlic with the biggest cloves.  That's our home-grown German Extra Hardy on the right, and Russian Red on the left.
We cleared the area where the edamame and some tomatoes were growing, and turned the soil.  The cloves get planted six inches apart, and pushed flat side down 2 inches into the soil, so the pointy end sticks out the tiniest bit at the top. 
I think we planted 46 cloves.  That ought to bring us a bigger harvest next year!  Once the leaves fall, we'll use them to cover the bed until Spring, when we'll remove the leaves so the sprouting garlic can poke through.

We'll also harvest the parsnips in the Spring. 
They're supposed to taste sweeter after they've been in the ground all Winter. 

A few other things are still making a go of it in the garden.  A couple more baby eggplants from the plant that keeps on giving.
Carrots, which I hope will poke through soon, because we'll need to harvest before we get a real frost.
Plenty of scallions.
And, since most of the bugs have died off, maybe some arugula?
In light of many failures, there are still a few successes.  It was good to get back in the garden, and start thinking about what we'll grow next year.

1 comment:

Tortla Dot said...

Love those sweet parsnips, especially with roast chicken or in soups!