It is recommended to plant garlic a week after the first frost, and we finally had our frost two nights ago, and i couldn’t wait any longer. That first frost was almost a month past our average first frost date (10/5).
I had about 30 cloves, saved from last year, and 10 volunteers from bulbs I must have failed to dig out when I harvested the garlic in July (I transplanted these to the new bed). They’re all hardnecks – with wonderful scapes in Spring – but I don’t know what variety, or mixture of varieties they are.
- Clove prep
I didn’t prepare my cloves last year and wasn’t happy with the result: a lot of cloves didn’t grow at all, or the bulbs were rotten and soggy at harvesting time. So this year I decided to prep. I soaked them overnight in a solution of baking soda (1 heaping tablespoon in 1 gallon of water), then soaked them for 2 minutes in rubbing alcohol, right before planting.
- Bed prep and mulch
I chose a bed that hasn’t had garlic planted in it in the last three years (in my young garden that means never). Until recently it had tomatoes and peppers in it. It’s a fine bed, I found the soil light and fluffy, just the way garlic loves it. It gets as much sun as any bed in my garden gets. It’s also situated to the East of where the Winter hoop House will be, so it won’t be in its shade and will even get some of its reflected sunshine and protection from winds.
I didn’t fertilize, but did mulch with 4″ of straw. It’ll protect the soil from the pounding rain, keeping it fluffy, and it will protect the garlic from temperature swings.
While I was covered with straw anyway, I spread it over all the bed that will be unused over the Winter. This is what the garden looks like now. From the North:
From the East:
The asparagus bed still needs mulching, but I’ll wait until after I’ve cut down the ferns, after they’re spent.