468 Cloves of Garlic

Last week was garlic planting time and did we plant garlic: 468 cloves!  If you are thinking about planting garlic for next season's harvest, you should stop thinking about it and get organized to plant!

Garlic is pretty easy to grow and relatively low maintenance.  There are two types of garlic to be aware of: softneck and hardneck.  Softneck garlics are what you typically find in the grocery store, they have more cloves (though usually small) and can be stored longer than hardneck.  Hardneck varieties are "hardier" and therefore better for planting in our northeast region since they can take on the cold/harsh weather.  While hardneck garlics produce fewer cloves, they are typically larger.  Another benefit of hardneck garlic is that they produce garlic scapes in the spring, a very delicious treat!

We planted 4 varieties of hardneck garlic: 2 Dog Farm, German White, German Porcelain and Music Organic.  Before putting the cloves in the soil, we had to do some soil prep first.  Over the past couple of weeks our Friday OVE (outdoor volunteer efforts) volunteer crew weeded the garlic bed, then we tilled up the space to make sure the soil was nice and loose/aerated.  Garlic grows best in soil that is rich in organic matter, so we added several bags of compost and mixed it in.  We also sprinkled an organic all purpose fertilizer (5-5-5 blend) to give the garlic a bit more food for the winter.

The final prep was marking out the beds for the different varieties and the clove spacing.  Cloves should be planted about 6 inches apart and 2-4 inches deep.  That's all there is too it!  Some people put mulch (leaves or straw) over the garlic bed just before the snow falls.  We haven't done that yet with our garlic and haven't had any problems.  Now we just wait until spring time =)


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