Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Garlic Planting

Whew.  Garlic got planted last week - just before the snow fell!

I'm about six weeks behind my usual garlic planting schedule, which is normally around Columbus Day.   The garlic guru from Wooleylot Farm said that garlic can be planted as long as the ground is workable.  The unseasonably warm weather we've had has made the ground easily worked until just a few days ago.

This is the third year I've planted this garlic that I originally bought from Wooleylot Farm.  Each year I plant the cloves from the biggest and best bulbs.  Because of this, each early summer I've been rewarded with bigger and more lovely garlic bulbs.  It would have been a shame to not get in this year's planting!

Its easy to plant garlic.  Make a shallow trench about 3 inches deep and place the cloves in it, six inches apart. Be sure to plant the cloves pointed end up. If you plant them upside down, they will grow but will be misshapen and smaller than they should be. You'll see the top of the clove makes a u-turn to reach the sky!  Rake soil back over the cloves, so that they are covered by 2 inches of soil.

Finally, mulch with 3-4 inches of organic material such as straw, alfalfa hay, or grass clippings.  My garlic is well mulched so hopefully it will get a chance to develop a bit of a root system before the ground gets too hard.   

Once you've tasted and cooked with freshly grown  garlic you become spoiled and don't want to use any other.  Plus, I plant a hardneck variety of garlic and it would be a shame not to have those wonderfully tasty spring scapes!

Garlic scapes and venison steaks...mmmm.

“My final, considered judgment is that the hardy bulb [garlic] blesses and ennobles everything it touches - with the possible exception of ice cream and pie.”
Angelo Pellegrini, 'The Unprejudiced Palate' (1948)


  1. It is best to plant garlic cloves in October, but sometimes it does happen that way. We too just finished planting last week. We were able to get started with the planting in October, but due to the hurricane and some other interruptions, we did not finish until late November. Since, you have loose and fertile soil that is well-drained with lots of organic matter (a.k.a healthy soil)and the fact that you gave them a thick warming layer of mulch, those cold-weather tolerant hard-neck garlic cloves will grow just fine. Keep your soil healthy and rotate those alliums with other crops and all will be good!

  2. What is garlic scapes? Is it a type of garlic or do you slice the garlic lengthwise.

  3. Michelle, I'm glad you asked. When I first started growing garlic I hadn't heard of garlic scapes either. These are the little curlicue sprouts that, in the spring, shoot, from the tops of hardneck garlic plants. They arrive all at once and have to be cut off, so that the plant’s energy is directed toward growing a fuller bulb (the underground part, which is harvested in mid-summer). Garlic scapes are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants, although they do not produce flowers. These stalks start to appear a month or so after the first leaves. If left on, they eventually form small bulbils that can be planted to grow more garlic, but it takes 2–3 years for them to form large bulbs. Many gardeners simply toss their scapes in the compost, but garlic scapes are both edible and delicious, with a mild garlic flavor and an asparagus-like texture. (partially from

  4. I love garlic and planted some this year! I like the quote at the end too!