01 October 2012

Time to Plant the Garlic

A couple of months ago, I came home and found my garage redolent of garlic: my husband had harvested the crop.



Here's the thing - it's incredibly easy to grow. You take the whole head, separate it into cloves, plant it in the fall, and dig it up in July. Two heads turn into twenty - can you think of a better return on investment? Oh, and there's a dividend: garlic scapes in late May or early June.

So, right now, go buy some garlic. Not at the supermarket, no, that garlic is often treated so as to hamper sprouting. What you want is seed garlic, from a local farmer who's planting their own for next year, or from a mail order house like Seeds of Change or Filaree. Ours was from a small vendor who had a stand at our farmer's market.

How did I know it was time? Well, my CSA is doing their garlic planting on October 6th, and what's good for them is likely good for me.

Tuck it in alongside where your tomatoes are going to go, or as edging for your herb garden. It might put up some greenery before it's too too cold, but no worries. Give it a little fertilizer - a top dressing of manure would be nice. Keep it watered. Give it some more food in the spring, and watch for it to send up scapes. Cut them off and eat them - chop 'em into a stir fry or make 'em into pesto or add them to greens and potatoes for a kind of demented colcannon.

Once the tops start browning, and your CSA sends out the email asking for volunteers to harvest their garlic crop, dig it up, using a garden fork to help loosen the soil. Brush off the loose dirt, and hang the garlic in your cellar for a couple of weeks; it needs to cure. While you're waiting, read Stanley Crawford's A Garlic Testament - a lovely meditation on growing garlic in New Mexico.

There is nothing easier or more self-satisfying than growing your own garlic.

10 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Bibliomama said...

I totally didn't know it was that easy - and fresh-grown garlic is SO good. Thank-you!

Mental P Mama said...

I had garlic scapes for the first time this year! Love this! Who knew?

TSannie said...

I"ve found once you've planted garlic, you've planted it for good! Keeps on coming up year after year. And BOY! Is it ever good!

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios said...

I don't have a vegetable garden but I do have a garlic cookbook!

leanne said...

And now I'm thinking I need to add garlic to my list of things to have in my garden. Also, I need a bigger garden :)

Kristen said...

We grow it in our school garden, but I still manage to kill everything I attempt in our home garden. Yum!

City Twins Chicago said...

Thanks for the tip. I need to plant something that is "incredibly easy to grow".

Frogs in my formula said...

Wow, I feel so disconnected from the garden. I didn't realize garlic grew off such a long stalk!

Gotta Knit! said...

Just planted a bunch of garlic yesterday. First time trying but should be fun next Summertime when I harvest.