Garlic is a kitchen staple around here. I put it in basically EVERYTHING but cereal and believe it is a big reason my immune system is so strong and healthy. Garlic is truly a super food, plus it’s really fun to grow. Granted: you have to have a certain amount of space set aside in your garden in order to grow garlic. Planted in October and harvested in July, it kind of takes up a lot of room. My dreams of growing ‘fields’ of garlic and onions were one of the main reasons we fenced such a large garden space. I want to be able to rotationally plant/ lay fallow assorted large crops, including garlic for years to come so i fenced in an area roughly 75 x 150 feet or something. I actually can’t remember anymore – but it’s a pretty big space. I broke new ground for the garlic patch in the past few weeks using a gas powered tiller for the surface few inches and my broadfork for deep cultivation. I can almost guarantee i’ll be battling with the grass and weeds all winter long since this bed is so newly cultivated….. but sometimes you just gotta get ‘her done!
I planted a small patch of Russian Red garlic purchased from a local friend last year and saved the biggest cloves for planting this year. The rest i either used up (the broken ones) or tied up in lovely braids in my pantry.
My garlic patch this year is 8×30 feet and includes: 2.5 pounds Russian Red (softneck), 1 pound Kilarney Red (hardneck), 1 pound Chesnook Red (hardneck) and 2 pounds Nootka Rose (softneck). Join with me, please, in a big prayer and round of finger crossing that the moles and voles won’t take out the ENTIRE crop over the winter/spring/summer.
This post is not a ‘how to plant’ post, as i’ve already written that one HERE and local seed growers Adaptive Seed have their own great post on the subject. Check those two posts out, pick up some (preferably organic) big cloves of garlic and plant some! Okay, okay – i’ll post a smidegeon of how to. Just the bullet points:
- Plant in October
- Plant only the largest cloves out of a head of garlic
- Plant them about 2 inches deep between 5 to 8 inches apart in rows between 10 and 18 inches apart
- Plant into good soil or amend it with bone meal, fertilizer, rabbit manure, compost, etc
- Mulch well at the time of planting
- Here in Western Oregon the sky will water them for you all winter, but if you’re not so lucky: keep well watered until about June
- Fertilize in February and April. I like to foliar feed with kelp or fish and water in diluted blood from butchering. Side dressing with blood meal would be almost as good
- Harvest in July, when about half the leaves are brown, but don’t wait too long or the cloves with spread out and won’t store as well
There is TONS more info than those bullet points that is important, so again – check out Adaptive Seed’s garlic planting post, do some research on hardneck vs softneck and have FUN getting dirty!
Do you grow your own garlic? What’s your favorite variety?