Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gardening: Fall Garlic Planting

We're trying garlic in earnest next year, so we have to start planning now. A friend gave me some garlic bulbs from a gardening store two summers ago. We planted it in the spring (WRONG!), and hoped for the best. It sprouted. It died. We left it alone for a whole season. The onions we also planted that year didn't get even a little bit bigger than they were when we planted them, so we left the garlic in the ground to winter over. In the spring, they sprouted many new tops, but when I dug them up, they were just the small sets you see above. So I put them in a dry, dark corner until fall.

Columbus Day weekend I planted the garlic sets. Mr. Farmer told me of a pile of fine soil made mostly of worm castings and leaf rot. So after I pulled out the last of the dead tomato & pepper plants, took the unripened, frost-killed fruit inside for pickling, and turned up the bed, I set out for the woods. I found the soil, filled the wheel-barrow, and mixed the new soil into the old.

Somewhere in that process I injured my shoulder. The pain was terrible, even after taking an anti-inflammatory, and many motions caused it to worsen. So, I took Saturday night off and rested. I sat like my arm was in a sling and pouted because I wanted to plant my garlic.

The rest did me good, and I was able to put the garlic in the ground on Sunday. They needed to be set 8 inches apart, so I used a wooden pencil (7.5 inches) as a guide and used a screwdriver handle to poke holes of the right width and depth. Twenty-four sets went into the ground at perfect distance, were patted over, and covered with a tarp. I'm hoping the tarp will keep my marauding, free-ranging chickens from disturbing them before they settle in.

Twenty four is more than enough garlic for my family for the year. I really hope we are successful this time. We LOVE fresh garlic.


  1. We've been planting, too. Love your pencil idea..creative. Sadly, garlic does not do very well in my soil. In ten years, we have only had one successful crop.
    By the way, I wandered how other people keep their chickens out of their gardens..mine can be so destructive!

  2. We're keeping positive. We haven't done it "right" yet, so we aren't going to count it out yet. This summer would have been far too wet (I hear garlic doesn't like it too wet), so I am glad I pulled out the sets at the begining of the season. Wish us luck!

    PS- We kept the chickens out of the garden all summer by keeping them in the run. I know some people who put up fences, and we might try that next year. After all, we have some neighborhood dogs that are a little TOO neighborly, and a fence would help with that issue, too.