Thursday, October 31, 2013

Planting Garlic

We planted 30 lbs of stiff neck garlic yesterday, and for lunch we savored each variety. I enjoy the varieties. Each has its own flavor and taste personality. Some have a mellow heat and rich flavor, others pop with an instant flavor.

Garlic likes rich, well draining soils. It is suggested that you rotate your plot each year to be sure there is not a build up of pests in the bed. The location we are using this year has never had garlic in it before. In preparation for planting, we tilled and smoothed the soil in the garden plot. We set out the paths per our tractor wheel base at 30 inches of bed space.

We broke the garlic bulbs apart, but kept the paper wrappers on each individual clove. A few hours before planting, we soaked the cloves in a nutrient solution of 1T baking soda, 1T Kelp liquid into 1 quart of water. Then just before planting, we dipped the cloves into undiluted isopropyl alcohol (70%). We have been told the alcohol dip will not damage the cloves, and may discourage bacterial and fungal influences.

For planting, we prepared a bed 30 inches wide, and within this bed we made 4 equal spaced rows for the garlic, approximately 6 inches apart. Within the row, we planted the cloves from 4-6 inches apart and at a depth of around 3 inches. Last year we had garlic cloves pushed out of the ground because of freeze thaw, so we have planted them a bit deeper this year (3-4 inches deep). Our plan is also to cover the area with straw and mulch. A friend has read that you should let the ground freeze, and then place the straw on the bed. This would help keep the ground shallowly frozen, and decrease the freeze thaw cycles during the winter. If you find your garlic heaving out of the ground, then you need to cover it with soil, and plan to plant deeper next year.

Varieties we are planting:
  • Chesnok Red, Purple Stripe
  • Russian Giant
  • Porcelain Musik
  • Porcelain Romanian Red
  • Silverskin S & H (softneck garlic)
The stiff neck garlic is a special, gourmet garlic. It brings a high price and is of excellent cash crop. It is easy to grow, and in our experience has few pests. I am not sure why the small gardener would not want to try it. If fact I think everyone should!

  • See our earlier post on garlic.