This is the time of year when I am beginning to think about how much time I have until the first frost. There will be a break from weeds growing, insects, and lawn mowing, but the price is that the bulk of the garden will die or disappear. Being able to, actually needing to, plant garlic, gives me a glimpse of the promise of spring.
There are laws disallowing shipping of garlic from out of state, but, thankfully, the local garden nurseries have been getting some to sell the last few years. I just purchased mine from Greenhurst Nursery in Nampa and planted it last night. The nursery provided an excellent one sheet planting guide, which I hole-punched and put in my garden journal.
I chose soft neck garlic this year because I want to learn to braid it for storage. This youtube video is a great demonstration of how to do this: How to Braid Softneck Garlic.
Garlic should be planted in the fall if you want time for it to grow into full sized bulbs to be harvested the following summer. Clearing an area for planting it is good incentive to get a head start on some fall clean-up. I already had a garden bed empty, so only needed to pull a few small weeds, and had the four bulbs planted in half an hour. Since our weather here has begun to cool down quite a bit, I’m planting it a little earlier than the recommended mid-September due to scheduling issues. It can be planted as late as the end of October. (It should be planted 2-3 inches deep, or until covered. Some sources recommend about 6-8 inches apart or enough to be able to get a tool between them to dig them when mature. Make sure to keep the pointed end up.)
I stuck a metal garden label at the beginning of the rows and marked the ends of them with bamboo sticks. I don’t want to lose them, but I usually see green tops in a couple of weeks. I just need to remind myself that it isn’t grass like weeds when I’m doing other fall clean-up. I have been know to accidentally weed out some of my seedlings before. It’s pretty depressing… I am also making note in my garden journal of how many bulbs I planted, so that I will know how to adjust that to get the crop size I want the following year. I am already wondering if I want to go get a couple more bulbs and finish off the rows. It didn’t turn out to plant as much as I thought it would. (The raised bed in the photos is 16 feet long and 4 feet wide.)
So, there they all are, little bundles of hope for spring, giving off a sweet, pungent smell that makes me want some dinner. If all goes well, I should be able to save some of the bulbs to plant next fall, without having to buy any.