I 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!