Today with a forecast of 50 degrees and sun, I decided it was time to plant my garlic and shallots. A friend told me that you are supposed to wait until after Columbus day to plant. I am not sure if in the past I have planted before or after Columbus day but this year it just worked out that I am planting after.
The first thing you need to do is prepare your plot. We don't have a tiller, so my prep was all done by hand. Last year it was so dry I actually used a pickaxe to dig a trench in the soil! Thankfully this year the soil was much more manageable.
|Composted rabbit manure mixed with hay that fell from their cages.|
After digging the trench (no need to get all crazy 6 to 8 inch trench works just fine) I added composted rabbit manure, and filled the trench back up.
Now it is time to plant. One bulb of garlic usually has 3 to 6 cloves. Separate the cloves, this is the "seed." In Wisconsin, where we live, the best garlic to grow is hardneck. Most of the garlic you get in the grocery store is softneck- this will grow in our area but it wont get as big, and it is not easily stored.
|This garlic variety is called Music. The cloves are rather large with a good garlic flavor (way better then the stuff in the grocery store!).|
Plant the clove with the fat end down- tapered end up.
|This is a shallot, the energy needed to grow is stored in the fat area (the part you eat).|
I plant mine about 3 inches deep, and about 6 inches apart. Some people like them spaced out more, they don't get that big and the farther apart they are the more room for weeds.
|These are not quite deep enough- just wanted you to get a sense of the space between seed.|
This year I planted cloves from last years planting. If you are looking for seed garlic I would say the best place to look is your local farmers market. That way you know the variety grows in your area, and if you have any questions you have a direct connection to the farmer. Another great option is Localharvest.org. You can search for seed garlic in your state, even in your city.
|This years harvest!|
Last year I planted 110 cloves, this year I upped it to 130, and added shallots.
|I added bedding to the tops of the rows, this controls weeds and hold moisture.|