[Livingontheland] fall garlic planting

Harvey Ussery huboxwood at earthlink.net
Fri Sep 8 09:17:20 EDT 2006

> About time for fall garlic planting. 
>  paul

A bit early here in zone 6b (I plant mid-Oct to mid-Nov), but Paul is 
right--if you want to grow garlic, make sure it doesn't fall off your 
to-do list.

Garlic is an easy crop. Here is Hahv's sure-fire recipe for success:

*Plant in fall. Spring-planted garlic will grow just fine--but will 
produce miniscule heads.

*Give it your best garden soil. (Last year I followed a cover of cowpeas 
with garlic--and got best-ever harvest.)

*If you want large heads, give *plenty* of room. Last year I planted 
just 3 rows down the length of 42-inch wide bed, 6 inches apart in the 
rows. I got biggest heads ever by a factor of 2. This year I plan to do 
the same, but increase in-row spacing to 8 inches. (OTOH, closer spacing 
will give you somewhat greater overall production, but smaller heads.)

*A light mulch is good. (A heavy mulch should only be used where it gets 
very cold in winter--remember to pull most of the mulch off it as growth 
begins in the spring.)

*After growth begins in the spring, keep the bed absolutely weed-free. 
Alliums do not do well with weed competition.

*Don't wait too late to harvest (around end of June, early July latest 
in my area). You really don't want to wait until significant numbers of 
lower leaves have turned yellow. Rather, pull a head now and then as 
harvest time approaches. Once they've sized up nicely, go ahead and 
harvest. (And those heads you pulled? "Green" [uncured] garlic is very 
nice in the saute pan.)

*Remember that shallots and nesting or "potato" onions should also be 
planted in the fall, likewise a number of perennial alliums (Egyptian or 
"walking" onions, etc.)

*And do reserve your best heads for use as seed garlic in the fall. I'm 
still planting Inchellium garlic I first bought 20 years ago--Chesnok 
Red, about 12 years or so.


Harvey in northern Va

"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is 
used."  ~Wendell Berry

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