Friday, October 16, 2009

Planting Garlic

I really need to finish the garden cleanup and get the garlic planted this weekend. We experienced several frosts this week and some areas have even had snow. There was even a possibility of snow showers this afternoon but they never materialized. Ready or not, winter is coming.

There isn’t much left to do for cleanup. Most of the plant debris has already been removed. What is really giving me a tough time are the pole bean vines that are intertwined in the nylon netting:

K says, I should just clip it down and use new netting next year, but I can’t do that. The netting is in great shape still and should serve me several seasons. So I’ve been unwinding the vines a little at a time. Once the vine dries out, it snaps pretty easily, so I pulled out the roots hoping they will die quicker.

Today I focused on preparing the bed and planting the garlic into this 4x4 Square Foot Garden (SFG):

I was considering potting up the parsley and bringing it inside until I saw this:

There were several cucumber beetles, stink bugs, and various other creepy crawlies that I wasn’t willing to bring into the house. So I clipped off the healthy parts of the parsley and will carefully wash these then microwave dry:

I dug up the parsley roots and the rest of the bed. It was really nice to dig in the dirt again. I was surprised at the amount of roots the parsley put out. I haven’t had much luck growing parsley before, but the plants did really well in the SFG. I found some small onions that I missed earlier. These will be tossed into a beef stew that I am making tomorrow:

After all the roots were pulled, I added some wonderful Kinney Fish and Farm Compost. I found this compost earlier in the season at my local hardware and feed store and used it to mulch the garden back in June and I was very pleased with it then. I had only three bags left in the shed and as I opened one and spread it on the SFG, I was reminded how beautiful this compost was:

Before plotting out the garlic planting, I had to figure out just how many cloves I needed to plan on. So I carefully separated the bulbs of Romanian Red and Purple Glazer garlic to see what I had.

Although some SFG guidelines suggest 4-inches apart or 9 per square foot, I opted to go with the recommendation of We Grow Garlic and plotted out 6-inches apart:

I will add a couple inches of shredded leaf mulch to the garlic bed from my mowing tomorrow:

I had a few small cloves left over and planted them in 1 square foot in another bed:

It was chilly today, but once I was moving and working I didn’t notice the cold as much. I also weeded out and added compost and mulch to my herb plot. There is more work to do tomorrow.


  1. That garlic bed looks so nice. I'm still battling the squirrels in my garden. I plant, they dig. I've even covered the beds with bird netting. I guess not well enough! I have some work to do this weekend.

  2. I love the way work warms the worker.

    I hear you on the netting -- I'm a convert to twine because I can't stand throwing it away or unwinding.

  3. Agreed, winter weather is here. That soil mixture sure has a dark, rich color to it. I bet it IS good. Oh, and I fully understand about the pole bean vines being hard to remove from the trellises!

  4. Your farden looks great. What is the process for growing garlic? You are planting it now as winter comes on, what do you expect to happen and when will you harvest?

  5. Everywhere I look, folks are planting garlic. 'Tis the season !
    Judging by the quality of that compost, yours should be an excellent crop ! (Your space is lovely, btw).

    ps. no, we didn't get snow after all, but it sure was cold ! (many degrees below zero at night)

  6. Oh Lisa! Squirrels are nasty in the garden, they are either diggingup things to eat, or digging holes to store stuff to eat. I am lucky to have my lab, Bradie who chases squirrels out of the yard. Would chicken wire over the beds help?

    Stefaneener: We used jute twine last year and I just snipped it and tossed twine and vines into the compost bin where it disappeared. I will definitely have to consider something else next year.

    EG: The compost was absolutely beautiful and smelled so earthy. And you saw some of the worms….they were all through it. I can only hope that my compost bin will produce something half as good.

    John: Welcome! I visited your blog Digging Earth/ too and will be back. Probably for your Jalapeno poppers recipe.

    Garlic is planted in the fall which allows it to grow roots before the winter hits. This helps secure it in the ground during the frosts and heaves of winter and gives it a head start when the weather warms in spring. When spring comes, the garlic begins growing as soon as it can sending up green shoots while the bulb develops. Garlic is harvested when the bottom two or three leaves of garlic plants lose their green color, I think this would be mid-July in your area. Garlic doesn’t grow well when it compete with weeds, so SFGing is great way to grow it.

    miss m: Yes, tis the season for garlic. It was fun to plant something again. I’m glad you didn’t get snow yet. It'll be here soon enough.

  7. You have been busy! I always wrestle with removing the bean vines off of the support trellis each year. I take a pair of small garden snips and use them to judiciously cut away sections - so I am only unraveling a small section at a time. Makes the job much easier. Still tediously slow - but easier.

  8. kitsapFG: Yes, I used garden snips too, but I was afraid to snip the trellis so it was slow going. When I finally got one nylon trellis down, it got tangled up in the debris from the ground, ugh! I have to do something different for next year.

  9. I don't even try to get my vines off of the trellis. Since the trellis is string, I just cut the whole thing down and restring it in the spring.

  10. eek... until i read your post, i almost forgot to plant my garlic! my shipment of bulbs arrived the other week, but i got too caught up in everything else that i almost forgot. i'll be planting Early Red Italian and Siberian. My own personal taste test between soft neck and hard neck.

  11. Ribbit: I should have used string, but I used a nylon netting that will probably take 100 years to break down. I will probably use string in the future for pole beans and keep the nylon netting for my tomato trellis in the SFGs.

    Allison: There is still time! At least I hope so...I still have some spring bulbs to plant too. I hope the snow the Nor'easter is churning up stays south of us. I am just not ready yet for snow yet.