Friday, October 25, 2013

How I plant garlic

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.

I have had several people ask me how to plant garlic, it is really not that hard, the key...plant in the fall. Sometimes it is hard to come up with the energy needed to plant anything after you just got done with a season, but in the spring when that first bit of green starts poking through it is all worth it!

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.

Plot ready!

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 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.

Happy planting!


Alison said...

Well, so far I haven't been able to get my garlic in. Hoping the weather stays fairly nice so we can get the new larger garden prepared soon. If not, I might have to wait until next fall. My husband was in disbelief when I had him help me measure for the new garden... He thinks it's going to be way too big. I told him it's still tiny compared to you guys do by hand.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jen!! I wonder if the same process would apply to Utah... We just acquired a ranch in which I want to plant everything!! LOL!!

Duskwind Farm said...

@Alison- Chuck used to think we planted too much, now we just keep making it bigger and bigger! Hope you get your garlic planted this year!

@ Anonymous- you are so welcome! The planting should be the same- but I wonder when you would plant? What are the winters like? I hear you wanting to plant everything- isn't it fun!!!

Tammy Sons said...

Home grown vegetables and fruits are so much more better than the ones you buy from the market. Enjoyed your post and loved the pictures. Thanks!

Duskwind Farm said...

@Tammy ~ I could not agree more! Next year we will be planting peach trees. Can't wait to have our own peaches, apples and pears!

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