Today in the Garden: Planting Garlic

planting garlicI got a call this morning, just as it started to drizzle. It was my garden mentor, and she said “Just letting you know I am planting my garlic right now, it’s now or forget it.” J is a coach. She never tells me “you should plant your garlic now.” Instead, she leads by example. I sighed, grabbed a rain hat, trowel, dogs and seed garlic, for which I’d paid a pretty penny, and went to meet her, forgoing a nice warm dry office.

In this climate zone the garlic should go in around 1st November. It’s December 6.

I arrived to light rain, and found J smoothing the luscious black dirt in her designated garlic bed. It looked perfect: weed-free, dark and almost fluffy. I tried not to think about the lumpy clay soil complete with rampant weeds just down the garden in my own plot. Together we split and soaked the cloves, poked holes with a bulb planter, sprinkled bone meal and pushed the cloves deep, covering them.

I went down to prep my garlic bed. It had been mellowing under straw since I pulled the beans in late September. The quack grass had moved in from one end, but otherwise the weeds weren’t too bad. It was raining steadily now. I started forking the bed vigorously, hoping J would not arrive until I was through. Though some stubborn clay remains, believe me, this bed is much improved from the weedy cement I first encountered. As I worked I realized I was too hot, so I shed my sweater, preferring the fashion statement of rain-slicker-over-bra. Off with the glasses, too, as they are all fogged. Water dripped from my hat and my nose.

I dumped some chopped leaves and sand in the bed and forked it in, then raked it somewhat level. J arrived with the bulb planter, cloves and bleach solution. We soaked the cloves, made the holes, added the sprinkle of bone meal. The dogs found it very interesting! By now, they are soaked, but it’s warm enough at 60, and they run and bark, perfectly happy with the weather.

Shoving the fat cloves in their little holes, smoothing them over, was a wonderful feeling, very satisfying. I imagined the strong stalks, curly scapes and tangy bulbs of next June, and it’s thrilling. I never grew garlic before!

Before leaving the garden I plucked a carrot, grabbed lettuces and arugula and dill for lunch. It was a very tasty salad!

2 thoughts on “Today in the Garden: Planting Garlic”

  1. Ah, Patrise, all this gardening yttt (cat typing) and writing activity. I feel like such a citified clod when I read it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear about it from you. Keep up the work. XXXX Love, Joan By the way, when is Grace’s concert. My memory says Saturday, December 10???? Yes?

  2. Love the snow script.
    Feels like we’ve been close to snow this past week. In the middle of December in Australia. Got down to 4c (39f?) the other night and hasn’t got above 15c (59f).

    We’ve only had about a week of the hot, hot stuff this year. It’s very odd.

    I’ve not grown garlic. I thought about it but we can get elephant garlic from the garden beds at the B&B behind us (along with Rhubarb \o/) so we’ve not planted it this year.

    We’ve got potatoes in and some strawberries that have given us two whole fruit. Shame it was a bit bland. I think we get the rain at the wrong time of year for them. All our wet comes in summer.

    We have lots of herbs growing and the cherry plums and cherries are ripening all over the village. I can see little apples, pears and quinces growing too.

    It is lovely living somewhere we have access to all of this.

    Hope your garlic grows wonderfully

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