Friday, December 14, 2012

Gobs of Garlic

      I have always been a good procrastinator.  Why do today that which you can put off until tomorrow?  At some point you finally come to the end of the line, and then the project has to be done.  As in the garlic cloves I separated earlier in the season to replant for next year.

Gobs of Garlic Cloves, December 14th,  2012

      These are the secondary sized garlic cloves.  I already planted most of the premium sized cloves, as the feeling seems to be that the larger the clove planted, the larger the full bulb harvested.  So some of your best looking garlic should be saved to be replanted.  These secondary cloves, as I call them, will hopefully still make quite respectable bulbs by next June or July.  By waiting so long to get these in the ground, I am testing the adage: "Plant garlic until the shortest day of the year, harvest by the longest day of the year".   I have the shortest day beat by at least a week.
      The next problem is how and where does one plant this mountain of cloves?  The first answer should have been the compost pile, but that only occurred to me after the fact.  If this planting is successful, what am I going to do with a whopping bumper crop of garlic next summer?  I guess become the number one garlic producer in New Castle County.  Back to planting, the faster the job, the better.

Garlic bed to be
      This bed was very productive this summer, with the tomatoes tied to the stakes, and a row of pepper plants in front.  If I plant the garlic in front, it should not delay whatever I want to plant along the stakes in early May.  The fastest way to get the cloves in the ground is to make a couple of furrows, then drop in cloves.

Did not get rid of enough
Entire row
      Wow, that was a lot of garlic. But.....

I still have half a box!
      Still did not think of the compost pile, so where could more cloves go.  Well right in the next bed.

Clean up required
Three rows in the one bed
Soil fluffed back over the two beds
      There, that looks nice.  And was a lot faster than bending over and planting all of those cloves individually.  Some of the cloves were fairly dry and thin, so I suspect that less than half will actually sprout.  At least that is a hope.  So, done for the day?  Not so fast buster.  That still leaves the last box of the smaller cloves on the porch.  What are you going to do with them?

Smallest cloves in a cold frame
      This is the cold frame that the voles cleared for me in the last few weeks.  The garlic does not need the protection of the frame, but why not use it.  I can always lift the frame later and move it to a different location.  The garlic will probably chase the voles from this frame as a bonus.

Last of the cloves, really

      Again, to plant the cloves as quickly as possible, I just tossed them by hand into the frame.  Rather than pushing them into the soil, I figured I would just add a layer of one year old leaf mold on top of the cloves. 

Last year's leaf pile just sitting around, only a few feet away
Finished, and it is only December 14th
      Wow. Done. Really.  There certainly is enough garlic planted to be able to use some in the spring or early summer as green garlic if my supply of eating garlic runs out.  This last bed of garlic planted will probably be edible in its second year.  Meaning that the bulbs will be pulled in late June, stored for a couple of months, then be broken down to cloves to be replanted in the fall of 2013.  Those cloves should produce edible bulbs by June of 2014.  A renewable crop.  And so delicious.


  1. My are going to be over your head with garlic next summer! I guess I still have a few days to plant some too!

  2. Wow! That is a heck of an amount of garlic you planted there! I love the throw it in system and had I not already seen some of your previous bounties I would have doubted it's viability.
    I'm all stressed over 6 - yes six - bulbs (not cloves - bulbs) I planted in the PT at equal distance apart and perfectly upright.
    I'm beginning to think I should have called myself the trepid gardener rather than the tenacious gardener lol
    I so have to try your wonderful system.