If you use as much garlic in your cooking as we do, then planting garlic in your vegetable garden is a must! I was taught that the best time to plant garlic is in the fall. Unfortunately, I get so caught up in fall harvest and hunting season that I almost always forget to do this. Just because your garlic did not get put in the ground in the fall doesn’t mean you can’t grow garlic. You still can, it just probably won’t get quite as big as garlic planted in the fall.
Last fall we were moving into our new homestead. I was so focused on moving all my perennial flowers and herbs from our old house to our new house that it never even crossed my mind to plant garlic. There were a few times this winter when I had to go buy garlic at the grocery store and I felt a bit bummed that I didn’t manage to get any garlic planted in the fall.
Then a few days ago, I opened my spice cupboard and green shoots caught my eye on the bottom shelf. The bulb of garlic I bought at the natural food store in town two weeks ago had sprouted. I was thrilled! There were two or three visible green shoots about an inch long. I figured even those two or three garlic sprouts planted in our garden would be better than none.
Today we finally had another warm, blue sky day. While my husband worked on finishing the green house assembly (post coming soon on that project!), Little A and I worked on planting the garlic. Since our new vegetable garden is not fenced or tilled yet, I expanded our herb garden another few feet to accommodate the garlic. Planting garlic right next to the horseradish and chives seemed to be a pretty good spot since they will get full sun.
As I began carefully breaking the bulb of garlic apart, I was thrilled to realize that every single clove of garlic had sprouted! Initially I thought there were a few cloves that did not sprout, but when I carefully peeled back the thin outer skin there was a tiny sprout poking out. Simply amazing!
I planted the cloves about six to eight inches apart to allow ample room to grow. At our old house, our garden space was much smaller so I planted the garlic only a few inches apart. This resulted in very tiny garlic bulbs. So small that it was painstaking to peel them for use. I learned from that lesson and made sure this year there is plenty of space in between the sprouting cloves. I planted the garlic cloves about two to three inches below the soil.
Planting garlic was the first vegetable we planted this spring. While I know our garlic may not produce huge bulbs, I’m thrilled we at least planted some garlic. I’m hopeful that by providing ample spacing between the cloves and it being early enough in the gardening season that we will still grow some decent sized garlic. Our last frost probably won’t be for another two months so we got a little jump start on the gardening season around here!
Do you grow garlic and have any tips to share?