We are not scared of planting garlic


It’s a big weekend in the garden: First frost is expected, and an annual holiday has arrived. Nope, not Halloween, but garlic planting time.

(I enjoy the mnemonic device I learned for growing garlic in Virginia: Plant at Halloween, harvest at Fourth of July.)

Those for whom "big head" is a compliment

We’ve had trouble in the past getting our act together in time to order seed garlic before planting time. So we’ve used whatever garlic we could find in the grocery store–not exactly a recommended practice. Usually, although our garlic has grown, the heads have been small and hard to work with.

Last year, we planted some grocery store garlic and some that we’d saved from our CSA share. And there was a huge difference in the way those two varieties turned out–so now we’re convinced. This year, we saved all our CSA garlic, and that will provide the start for what we hope will be our best garlic harvest ever.

Our method is simple. We simply break up the heads into individual cloves and plant them in a 6-inch grid, root side down. Each clove should be pushed into the soil just until its top disappears. Then we cover the beds with straw, try to remember to water now and then, and dig it all back up in July. By then, each clove has become a head.

(Once or twice, we soaked the cloves in a peroxide solution before planting, to cut down on molds. It didn’t seem to work that well, so we stopped.)

Anyone else planting garlic soon? Have any tips to enhance our stripped-down style?