Warning: This post advocates violence (against bugs)-Growing your own garlic

  So if you were paying attention last week, you saw this “mystery garden“.

If you’re really paying attention you’ll notice I’ve changed the shape
  Well, it’s time to get back to the garden and start planting, despite the fact it’s going to start getting bitter, bitter cold soon.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re going to be planting these bad boys.
Extra special thanks to my mom for supplying the bulbs
  We take our garlic seriously.  Like, really seriously.  As in, if a recipe calls for garlic, we double it on spec.  As in, this entire garden is going in specifically because the two gardens we’ve previously been using to fit garlic in around other plants haven’t been coming close to supplying enough garlic to make it through the winter, let alone enough to give us extra to plant.  We want bushel baskets full of garlic.  This extra garden is a step in that direction.
“I’ve got the basket Mom, is it ready yet?”
  First things first, I bumped the garden out a little further.  The Mr. mentioned to me that it’s a lot easier for him to mow a garden bed with curved edges than one with corners, so I thought I’d save us both some headache and round off the side.  I got some help.
Toddler help is cute, but less effective than could be hoped for.
  Pulling the grass up from your to-be garden is a great time to break the dirt up and prepare it for planting.  Bonus points if you find a bunch of these nasty little monsters and throw them on the roof of a decrepit old building like I did.  Or onto the driveway…or anywhere else that they’ll fry or be eaten by birds.  …no comfort or aid to the enemy people.
This is what you get Japanese beetles…show you to eat my roses.
  Once your plot is prepped, it’s time to break out the measuring tape and whatever level of OCD you can muster.  Each garlic plant is supposed to be 6″ from all other plants.  I also wanted my plants a foot from each edge to avoid run ins with the aforementioned lawn mower.  I measured in a foot from the edge and a foot from the building (as much as it’s falling down, who knows how far it’ll shift onto my garden this winter…) and plunked in my first toothpick.  Measured 6″, another toothpick.  6″, toothpick, 6″, toothpick.
Dear God, do NOT do it this way
  I’m going to say right now, do NOT do your measuring this way.  Just don’t.  I got bored so fast…I wound up putting in the toothpicks for the entire back row and a single row going up the length (so a “L” shape) and then just moving them as I planted.  That wasn’t really a good way to do it either though.  I’d suggest putting some skewers in the ground at your measurements and tying strings between them to make yourself a grid.  However you do it, once you have your plot marked out, it’s time to prep your garlic.
  Break your bulbs into individual cloves.  Do NOT remove the paper that comes off around the cloves, the clove needs that to protect it from nasty monsters like the one above (you probably didn’t throw ALL of them to the birds).  They should look like this:
  In each of your marked off spaces, dig down 3″.  I find the easiest way for me is to push my dandelion root removing tool into the ground and make circles with the handle until a small hole opens up in the dirt.  You could do the same thing with a screwdriver, or a stick.  
Typically I wing it on the depth measurement, but for you I’ll use the ruler
  Make sure when you’re planting the cloves that they’re going in the right way!!
Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourself.
  Cover them up and mulch like crazy so your lawn doesn’t grow right back over the spot.
  A few notes:
  Make sure you garlic that is hardy for your area.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a relative or neighbor who is already growing garlic, you can find it online from sources like this one.
  In Michigan, the best time to plant garlic is the week around the 10th of October.  Some people say that if you can plant it the night of a full moon, that’s best, but I wasn’t waiting til Tuesday night.
  Garlic needs full sun and not a lot of water.  DO NOT water your garlic or otherwise coddle it.  It will make it weak and bland tasting.  If you want something that tastes like a potato, you should grow potatoes.  Struggling makes your garlic delicious.
  Each bulb of garlic contains about 8 cloves.  Plan your space accordingly.
  Once your garlic is in the ground for the fall you can forget about it til spring!  It won’t need any help from you til probably late May or early June (and I’ll tell you more about that then!)
  As always, I’m happy to answer any questions.  …is anybody else craving garlic bread now?

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s