Monday, November 3, 2008
Fall is Garlic planting time. This year we were a little later than we like. Columbus day or thereabout is optimal time, but as long as the ground is still workable you can plant. This year we planted about 50 German White Hard Neck cloves which should yield about 50 nice large bulbs late next July or early August. The cloves were soaked in fish emulsion fertilizer and water before planting. A little smelly but an extra boost for the garlic.
Two tricks to growing garlic are to clip them before they flower. The plant will send out a flowering shoot called a scape. The scape will make a loop and then a second loop. Once the second loop is visable it's time to clip them off before they go to flower. This results in bigger bulbs. These scapes are also edible and provide excellent garlic flavor in cooking, though less pungent than an actual clove. We just chop them up and use as you would use garlic in cooking.
The second point to remember, garlic prefers fairly arid conditions. Do not over water them. In fact in this area we don't water them at all. The rainfall we get in the course of a normal growing season is more than enough. Garlic prefers soil with good drainage and organic matter. A little sand mixed into a good compost mix is an ideal amendment to your soil. A little fish emulsion fertilizer a couple of times during the growing season is all you need to produce fantastic results.