Monday, October 15, 2012

How and When to Plant Garlic

 Garlic among the gourds
Waiting to be planted

When we were at Seedsavers in Decorah, Iowa with friends a couple weeks ago (future post), besides purchasing packets of seeds for next spring, I picked up an instructional sheet for planting garlic. I've always meant to plant garlic, but it's supposed to be planted in October, and since everything else I plant gets planted in May or June, I never seem to remember the garlic until it's too late.

This year, however, I actually marked it on my calendar in big letters on the October page: PLANT GARLIC. The biggest cloves will produce the best bulbs, so I looked for garlic bulbs that had bulging huge cloves. As you can see in the photo, they were starting to sprout before I got around to planting them.

 The good man, working the soil

Grass clippings nearby and leaves (not so nearby) were mixed to make a nice mulch for the garlic after it was planted. I didn't want to put it on so heavily that it would smother or kill them, but enough so that it would help protect them.

 Potting soil and lime worked into the otherwise quite bland, sandy soil

 Garlic cloves, laid in the trench, root end down, tip side up
6-8 inches apart, with skins still on (do not remove the paper-like skin)

Cover with 2 inches of soil and mulch with a mixture of grass clippings and leaves.  (We did this on a rainy day, which I think was probably good.)

Right about here should be the photo of the planted and mulched garlic. I don't know how I managed to miss that photo op, but I suppose it was because I was busy getting Bridger's pic. He was lying nearby, watching the procedure.

In the spring, when the garlic begins to come up, and before May 15, it's a good idea to fertilize the garlic once or twice.
Do not fertilize after May 15.
Garlic needs 1" water per week during the growing season.
Do not water garlic after June 1.
Keep weeds under control. (The mulch you laid down when you plant the garlic will help with this.)
Harvest after the leaves die back and there are still five green leaves remaining on the plant. This will be in June or July.

Everything in the garlic planting guide indicated that garlic needs to be handled carefully so that it does not bruise and deteriorate. When harvested, tie 6-8 garlic bulbs in a bundle and hang in a shed or garage that is dry and well-ventilated until they're dried for about 6 weeks.

I have a friend who used to raise garlic and braid them to hang on her kitchen wall. It was beautiful!

This photo and a great tutorial on harvesting garlic are found
Check it out. Jane has several good tutorials.

In NW Wisconsin in July, it's pretty humid. I'm thinking that our shop/garage will not be a good place to dry the garlic. Maybe upstairs in the house where it's dryer would be better.

After that drying period, you can trim the stalks and roots and store the bulbs in old onion sacks or netting.

Optimum setting for storage: 45-55% humidity and a temp of 50-70 degrees F. Do not refrigerate.

The Supervisor

Now that you're armed with all that great information, be sure to go out and buy some nice big garlic bulbs and plant the cloves for next year's crop. I can hardly wait for the winter to be over* to harvest our garlic crop in June or July of next year!  I can't wait to try my hand at braiding the garlic.

* I know that winter hasn't even begun, but it's always this time of year during the waning hours of daylight that we get this sinking feeling...The Big W. is just around the corner!


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Denise said...

Thanks for sharing.

Amy Burzese said...

Now I know. I stuck a couple of cloves in my washtub with a tomato plant this summer. A tiny sprout, then nothing. I'm doing this this week. Thanks!

Yenta Mary said...

I have friends who raise garlic on their farm, and it's astounding how many varieties there are. In the spring, be sure you trim the scapes to use in pasta or pesto or stir frys or SOMEthing, before the actual garlic is ready. Sigh ... makes me long for spring already, and it's going to be a looooong time 'til then ... :(

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing these tips. It's finally starting to get to that time of year, when I can actual plant things!!! YAY!

MadSnapper said...

if you find a way to plant and grow the Supervisor let me know. so beautiful laying there. good luck with your first harvest and braiding.

Deanna said...

Perfect timing! I'm picking up my co-op order tomorrow and I ordered a bunch of garlic. You've inspired me to plant some of it.

Cherry's Prairie Primitives said...

Thanks!! I'm going to plant some this year also!!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Thanks for the timely reminder!! I always forget to plant garlic too. Maybe I'll check out the nursery today & see if they have any planting bulbs available!

Olive said...

I can't remember to cook with it so I know I cannot grow it. No seriously one of our fifty moles we have would eat every single bulb. They ate all my daffodils.

Anonymous said...

How very interesting! I've never grown garlic before. That supervisor looks like a tough one!!!!!

laurie said...

I have never heard how to plant garlic before. Thats pretty interesting. I'll be anxious to see how your's turns out!

RURAL said...

You have covered every version of question that might arise...our garlic should be very successful.

We plant in the spring, for fall, and the fall for spring here.

Had a wonderful crop in August, it was a little late, but turned out perfectly.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Ruth Kelly said...

Never ever tried to grow garlic.

Chatty Crone said...

Gosh all this information is wonderful and frightening at the same time to a non farmer. I love garlic and I have more respect now for it.

Haddock said...

Wonderful. I am going to do this as it is still October.

Carla from The River said...

I love garlic, I am excited to see how this will work for you. :)

The Polka Dot Closet said...

I love garlic, I never thought about planting it! Can't wait to see how it grows. I grew up in Minnesota and now live in Orlando, I moved in my early 30's. Crazy thing I still get that melancholy feeling in the fall, and I know it comes from years of dreading the impending snow.

I won't rub it in, but there won't be any snow here LOL!


Vintage Gal said...

Hi Judy ~ thanks so much for stopping by. I would love to plant garlic, but now we have our house on the market, doesn't make much sense. I tried it once and my bulbs turned out like pearl onions ;-)
I'm your newest follower

Vintage Gal said...

Hi Judy ~ thanks so much for stopping by. I would love to plant garlic, but now we have our house on the market, doesn't make much sense. I tried it once and my bulbs turned out like pearl onions ;-)
I'm your newest follower

Anonymous said...

So glad I found your blog! These garlic tips are great:)

Mary said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment Judy - I can see I will enjoy looking through your great posts too.

You seem to really have enjoyed visiting the UK - that makes me happy because it is a beautiful country and, as I said, will always be my real home.

Happy week - Mary

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Thanks for the info! Garlic is something we haven't tried in awhile. When we did plant it we weren't sure when to pull it up. Now it all makes sense!

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

I love this little garlic planting tutorial! I never thought of planting garlic, but I'm going to try it. We use it alot and it would be wonderful to have our own. Thank you!

Shiloh said...

I don't know why, but I never really thought of planting garlic. Maybe when we're settled, I'll try this.

Kathe said...

Wow! Great post Judy! I thought it was too late to plant (is it?) garlic. I'm like you, I forget about it once the days get longer! I am marking my 2013 calendar to plant some next fall! Thanks for sharing this at the party this week! I am featuring this post on my Facebook page too :-)

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick said...

Fabulous information, very thorough, thanks for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
This is something I would like to try. Wish me luck!

Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick


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