Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Garlic Planting

Sonja removing Tomato plants and avoiding spiders.
It's that time of year again, when the gardens are completely harvested of their fruitage, the soil is amended and turned over in preparation for the spring's planting, and cloves of garlic are carefully sown.

This will be our first year growing garlic for ourselves. So, of course, we whipped out our copy of "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" and read up on it. Garlic likes deep fertile soil, well drained with lots of organic matter mixed in. You plant in the fall about 6 weeks before the soil freezes. In Maine, that can be as early as September. In warmer regions, you may be able to plant up to early winter. We planted last weekend.

Cloves ready to be covered with 2 inches of  rich soil.
We purchased some garlic heads from the Brooks Farmer's Market and some from the Common Ground Fair last weekend. We wanted to plant between 70-80 cloves, but ended up planting 60 in our prepared bed. Planting is easy, separate out the largest cloves from each head and plant them 2 inches deep with the pointed end up. Before the ground freezes, top the bed with leaves or straw to help insulate the bulbs and to encourage worms to aerate the bed.

Wait... Wait....Wait.

All ready for some mulch in a few weeks.
In the spring, about when the first dandelion leaves appear, remove the mulch and add it to your compost pile. If you do not see see bright green shoots, you will very shortly. Weed as needed. You can plant lettuces  and beets in the same bed. These help to keep the soil cool. Do not plant garlic with beans or peas or in a bed previously used by any onion family crop. Remember to nip the buds when they appear to promote larger bulbs.

The garlic is ready to harvest in late summer. Look for the lower 2-3 leaves to turn yellow. Carefully push the soil back and if the garlic is ready, pull it up. Let the garlic cure with the greens attached until the skin are dry and the necks are tight. Laying the garlic on a screen in an airy, shady spot is ideal. This can take up to 2 weeks. When they are finished curing, you can store the garlic by braiding the tops or removing the greens and placing the bulbs in a cool, dry place. Garlic can be stored for 5-8 months.

My mouth is just watering for fresh garlic to flavor next year's goat cheeses, alfredo sauces, marinaras, and salsas... the list goes on and on.

When do you plant garlic in your zone? Have you grown garlic with success?

Thanks for visiting today!
Sonja ♥

Also shared with: Wildcrafting Wednesday #5


  1. Thanks for the great tutorial, Sonja! I haven't tried growing my own garlic yet, but this makes me want to try it out.

    I laughed at the comment on your picture and how you were "avoiding spiders." Haha :)

  2. We're going to try it for the first time this year. Thanks for the tutorial!

    ps Love the name of your farm. Are you Jamie and Claire fans, too, or doesn't this statement make any sense? :)

    Thanks again for a nice post--we'll be planting this weekend.

    1. Hi Meredith,

      The name of our farm is Scottish. I am of Scot's descent. Clan Murray by birth... and we love J & C. ♥

  3. I am jealous of your raised beds. Our garden looks like a hot mess!! We do plan on getting 4 raised beds next year and putting crushed white rock around them to kind of make it purty too. We may very well be getting a bat box to help with mosquitoes. We haven't been able to enjoy our backyard due to the buggers.

    1. You NEED some Guinea fowl! They eat mosquitos, ticks, and all sorts of pests. Your neighbors would LOVE that. hehehe

  4. Thank you for reminding me that I have to get out and plant my garlic.

  5. Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday! I could really dig some of that nice black soil right now :)

    I hope you will join us on The HomeAcre Hop this week too!