Jerseygator's Blog


Garlic – following the school year

Posted in Garden by jerseygator on October 10, 2009

I planted garlic this week for next year.  Garlic is very satisfying to grow, as it requires a cold spell to reach it’s flavor potential.  This means that while everything else is being pulled from the ground and put into the composter, garlic bulbs are actually going into the ground to work it’s magic over the winter. The best timing tip I heard was “put garlic in when the kids go back to school, and it’s ready when they get out.”  This works for our area (zone 6), but would not have worked down in Florida, where kids went back to school in August, the hottest month of the year!  Of course we homeschool our kids, so I have to keep an eye on the buses in the neighborhood.

Although you can buy garlic at your local supermarket and divide and plant the cloves, oftentimes these have been sprayed with a growth inhibitor, which allows them to sit on grocer’s shelves without sprouting.  After an extensive internet search, I chose to buy organic garlic this year from Hood River in the northwest.  (A side note: Stephen bought his from an organic outfit in Maine… we’ll be able to compare next year!)  I went with one medium-hot variety, and one hot one.

Red Janice - a medium hot variety

Red Janice - a medium hot variety

Chesnok Red - a hot variety

Chesnok Red - a hot variety

Placing bulbs in the garden for spacing

Placing bulbs in the garden for spacing

Planting garlic is ridiculously easy.  Separate the bulbs into individual cloves 1-24 hours prior to planting.  Loosen the soil then plant the cloves pointy end up, covering with about 1/2 to 1 inch of soil.  Once the weather gets cool (first frost), mulch with shredded leaves to protect.  They will sit over the winter, eventually sending up some shoots.  The shoots will turn brown sometime in June, after which you can pull up the finished bulbs.

Garlic added to the front garden by the peppers and leeks

Garlic added to the front garden by the peppers and leeks

A final touch for our garden… a grid of bamboo and old metal grids to thwart Boo-Kitty.  She just loves all the time I put into her outdoor litter boxes.

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