Garlic Growing Tips
Having planted garlic starts in one of the four veggie boxes Mr. Wonderful built for me last autumn, I was happy to see that they survived the cold winter freeze-and-thaw cycles.
In early autumn last year, I had purchased some organic garlic to plant, as its one of the easiest vegetables to plant in our area in the Pacific Northwest - especially as it is very tolerant to frost, and more important in this mountain valley, snow.
You can also plant garlic in early spring, but you have to wait until the soil is soft enough to work, and this can often make the growing season short - and garlic needs a long growing season. Plus planting in the autumn finds bigger and tastier bulbs than those planted in the spring. If you live in warmer southern regions, it is recommended to plant in February or March, at the latest.
I purchased my garlic from the local nursery (my fav hangout - they know me by name, and probably groan as I drive up as I am always asking for discounts!), garlic from the grocery store will not work as its likely been sprayed with some sort of inhibitor. I split up the garlic into individual cloves, but kept the papery film on it - do not peel your garlic! This isn't spaghetti we're making.
I had already prepared the beds with organic compost from the local Sea-to-Sky Soils organic compost facility, so the well-drained, dark loam was in place - just what garlic craves.
Ry-Ry and I took this 'job' seriously and used high tech implements to make the garlic holes for planting - ie. we used our fingers to the depth of my knuckles - and popped an individual clove, thick end pointed down, into each hole. Covered up the cloves with the displaced soil, added extra dried leaves and more compost as a mulch covering to protect them from severe drops in temperature, and waited throughout the winter.
Come spring, and we were happy with the bright green spikes in a bed of dark brown. It is such a cheery sight to see some green after a long winter, I have to say. Not much remains throughout winter other than the garlic; the kale turned hard and woody, with stunted stringy and tough leaves, and the Swiss chard was a mooshy-mess by the time the temperatures started to rise.
Deciding to take full advantage of every inch of black gold we have in our raised beds, we also planted snow peas among the garlic this spring as soon as the soil could be worked. Snow peas should be planted in early spring, as they do not do as well in the hot heat of summer, so these were the perfect companions to the garlic.
And then I looked at the garden plot, and greedily rubbed my hands together: I want more! More I say!... so in between the garlic and snow peas, we made little troughs in the soil to spread a single line of minute lettuce (mostly romaine and red lettuce) seeds in diagonal stripes across the raised bed - just to break up the monotony of horizontal rows.
Stay tuned as I will post more pics of the plots as it grows!