The first of my garlic, sown a week ago is up. Green shoots are emerging through the soil underneath the cages I placed over them to protect them; partially from the blackbirds but mostly from my 2 year old who is a destructive force of nature.
Unlike last year when I just grew one variety of garlic, this year I have planted four, a mixture of hard and soft necked varieties. The difference between hard and soft neck garlic is that hard neck garlic flowers and you harvest it after it has flowered and the flower stem starts to soften. Soft neck doesn’t flower and is harvested when the plants die back. Or at least that is what works for the varieties I have and am growing.
My first task when planting the garlic was to separate the cloves. My understanding is that the middle cloves of soft necked garlic aren’t great for planting for bulbs, so I separated those out. I later planted those cloves in a large pot really close together the idea being that I will use them as green garlic. The remainder of the cloves I placed into separate bags for each variety. This level of organisation is rare for me so I was proud enough of it to take a photo.
I even wrote on each bag how many cloves there were so I can happily report that I planted:
- 20 Purple Monaro – a hard necked variety reputed to have 8-10 cloves per bulb.
- 40 Italian White & Italian ‘common’- soft necked varieties that I personally have trouble distinguishing between. Some was from my crop from last year some I bought this year.
- 29 cloves that mum & dad got from their food swap – its a hard necked variety (you can tell by the flower stem providing a ‘hardneck’ in the bulb.) but that’s all I know.
- 20 Dad’s garlic which he has been growing for years so I’m not sure of the variety but its a soft neck.
I planted just over 100 cloves, with the pointy end pointing up, about 3cm deep in a 15cm grid. Last year I planted on a 12cm grid but some of the bulbs were a bit on the small side so I decided to space them a little further apart this year. Having said that I have had good results using a 12cm grid so the smaller bulbs could have been something else entirely.
From now until harvest, which should be in December, these beauties should grow, and grow and grow. I will fertilise them with fish emulsion every now and then but other than watering them if they get too dry that’s about all the attention they’ll need until harvest. Well at least that’s what I’m hoping….