Saturday, November 7, 2009

Finally Dry Enough to Plant Garlic

I finished preparing the planting bed on Thursday after work, and planted 34 cloves of garlic, 2 shallots, and 7 multiplier onions yesterday. I would have planted more garlic, but a friend and I have decided to split an order of Inchelium Red and a “starter pack” of other garlics from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. That company sent out their Fall e-Newsletter, advertising what was still available, and it worked. We both wanted some.

This particular friend and I often go in together when ordering our seeds for the year to reduce postage and handling charges. Splitting a garlic order works because we both have small gardens.

I left some space in the planting bed for the garlics that are on their way, and a broad strip across the front for the onion sets that will be planted in early March. Since it is so late in the Fall, I did not plant out those red onion seeds that I have saved, but I am planning to start those in the house, to use as part of my March planting.

When planting the garlic, I laid the cloves out in my planned spacing before actually planting them. They should be 3 to 4 inches apart, and I used my 13.5 inch long trowel to help estimate that distance. When ready to plant, I poked that narrow trowel into the ground under a clove as I picked the clove up, opened up a space under where the clove was, and dropped the clove in, pointy end up. Since the cloves were all laid out in advance, this went quickly.

In a few weeks, when the green tips of the garlics emerge from the ground, we will see how well (or not well!) the method worked in terms of spacing the cloves.

Most of the garlic that I planted is just grocery-store garlic, the fattest cloves I could find. One, though, was a bulb consisting of one extremely fat clove plus a tiny hitch-hiker clove that I decided to just plant together. This one was a gift from a friend who had been given some garlic from a garden in Rabun county, where this garlic has been "in the family" for a very long time. I have marked this clove with craft-stick markers so I can be sure not to lose it.


  1. I planted some garlic about a week ago, but only 6 cloves. I'm thinking I want to get some more to plant too.

  2. Glad to hear that you got some garlic planted already!

    One great thing about garlic is that a lot of cloves can be planted in a small space. My 34 cloves are in a rectangle that is just a little more than 2 feet long and 1 foot wide.

    My friend will be growing her garlics in containers, so that is always an option for space-strapped suburban gardeners.

    Our garlics from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange arrived in yesterday afternoon's mail, just 3 days after my friend sent in the order, so if you are thinking about sending off for some fancy garlic, it isn't too late. Grocery store garlic works just fine, though, and is a lot more affordable!

    The arrival of the fancy garlics means I have more planting to do today. We are having a wonderfully clear, warm day, so it will be a joy to be outside.

    Amy, NW of Atlanta


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