Planting garlic

I seem to have reached a height of disorganisation of late.  I’m doing quite a bit of volunteering at my daughter’s school which is eating into my gardening time.  I don’t resent it as I’m enjoying it and it is for the school after all, but it does have its repercussions.  One of them is that I haven’t planned my winter garden properly and I have just bunged brassicas in where there is space.  Additionally the chooks are proving more trying in their free ranging than I had (very naively) imagined.  I also keep running out of time to do basic garden maintenance so there are areas in the beds that haven’t been fed or mulched properly etc etc etc.  The result of all this is that I don’t seem to have any space much to grow my garlic.  However I did managed to plant out a section last week.  YAY!

I selected the biggest heads from last years crop of soft neck varieties.  Last year I planted both hard neck and soft neck varieties but the soft neck seem to prefer Melbourne’s climate so I am just concentrating on them this time.   I posted on last years experiences and you can find it here.

Garlic for planting

I separated the heads into large cloves to plant for storing garlic, and  little cloves that I will plant for green garlic.

Garlic cloves for planting

The small cloves I planted really close together in small sections of the garden, however (and this gives you an indication of my current levels of ineptitude) I forgot to mark where and now have no idea where I put them.  Note to self: Get your act together!  Hopefully they will reveal themselves soon though.

The larger cloves I planted out in a grid leaving 15cm both between cloves and between rows.  This is the same spacing I used last year and seemed OK.  I then covered the area with a very light mulch (as much to mark the area I planted in as anything else) and put some chicken wire over the top to try and stop; the chooks, blackbirds and doves scratching all the cloves up.  It has only been kind of successful…

Protecting garlic

This year I am planning on feeding my garlic more than I have in the past, mostly because Dave from Our Happy Acres recommended it in this post, (check the comments).  He grows pretty fab garlic and given my heads are generally on the small side everything that might help them be bigger should be tried in my opinion.

I only planted out 30 cloves (plus the small ones) so I wont get a years supply from this area , but perhaps I will be able to clear another couple of areas this weekend.  I usually aim for about 100 plants to give me a years supply so I have a little bit of work to do if I am going to achieve that this year.

Are you planting or about to harvest garlic?  Do you feed your garlic?  If so what and when?

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22 Responses to Planting garlic

  1. Chelsea says:

    Oh, yum! I love garlic! Don’t like to think what my nearest and dearest have to say about me for it though. I like the idea of (purposly) growing green and bulb garlic with the big and little cloves. Gonna have to try that next year when I’ve got a plot again!

  2. Daphne says:

    Since it is my spring, I have garlic up and growing right now. I do a hardneck variety as I live in a colder climate and hardnecks do better here.

  3. Mark Willis says:

    My (few) efforts to-date to grow garlic have been singularly unimpressive, so I’m not growing any this year – which the exception of one single bulb that somehow got left from last year. I expect it will perversely do really well! I think maybe we don’t get enough sun for garlic to do well. I would certainly feed it if I grew it again, since the bulbs mine produced were very small.

    • Liz says:

      I’m not sure about the sun theory, although my parents garlic is usually huge and it grows in full sun so perhaps your theory is good.

  4. Michelle says:

    I’ve been harvesting some green garlic for a few weeks. I don’t bother anymore to plant a separate patch for green, I just pull the runts from the main patch. This is my first time growing garlic in a couple of years after one horrible year when the whole crop was severely stunted by rust. I prep my garlic bed with my usual soil amendments and then use liquid fish food 4-1-1 to feed them in the spring.

    • Liz says:

      I’m kind of (naively) hoping that I wont have any runts but you’re right it probably makes more sense to do it that way.

  5. I’ve never fed our garlic although before planting in open ground it will have been sprinkled with fish, blood and bonemeal. The cloves planted in tubs are just in ordinary general purpose compost but no extra feed is given.

  6. Dave says:

    In a perfect world, I would do like Michelle and give my garlic a good shot of fish emulsion every couple of weeks. But it is easier for me to remember to fertilize them once with blood meal in early spring than to remember the fish emulsion, though if I have some made up I will give them a drink of it occasionally. Like Sue, I also add bonemeal to the bed before I plant the garlic. Our garlic is looking pretty good right about now so I have high hopes for this year’s crop.

  7. I think we’ve only got about 20 in the ground at the moment, but I’ve still got time to put a few more in before it gets too cold. I think 100 sounds like a lot, but as you said, I’d like to be planting for the whole year.

    • Liz says:

      I harvested 100 the year before last and they lasted me the whole year – I was soooo pleased. This year I’m not sure they will but the heads were smaller and so I used less cloves for each dish.

  8. Louise says:

    I am making my first serious attempt at garlic this year. The ones I have in are Monaro Purple – hardnecks – and said to be well suited to this location. The neighbours had great success with them last year and I wonder if the ‘Monaro’ is from the Monaro Plain, on the other side of the Snowy’s from me? If so then they probably are well suited.

    As for feeding, I have fed mine already quite a lot and they are responding. I plan to continue the feeding but I cant say it’s a ‘regime’. The bed is well fed with manure of alpaca, sheep and cow ( all locally sourced) and also lime to get the ph right. I am giving random dressings of Seasol, or Nettle and manure tea. My biggest challenge is keeping water up to them as it is so dry.

    Hope yours go well.

    • Liz says:

      It’s dry here too, with no rain forecast for the foreseeable future. Time to get a little concerned? I am now definitely sold on feeding my garlic more than I have been.

  9. Balvinder says:

    Volunteering takes a lot of time. I have done it when my daughter was in elementary and this year she is graduating, I again thought to help out with fundraising and other things. It has taken the most of time.
    I don’t know anything about planting or feeding garlic.

    • Liz says:

      I’m starting to realise just how much of a time drain volunteering can be. You start one thing then someone mentions something else and it all snowballs from there.

  10. My garlic came through quite quickly (good for remembering exactly where it is!) but was instantly under attack by rabbits! We put down some blood and bone to see if the smell will deter them. I guess it will provide some nutrition for the plants along the way. If the BnB fails I’ll try coffee grounds… probably just end up with hyped up bunnies with garlic breath!!

    The most successful of my garlic last year was planted in May, so I’m sure there’s still time for you to get some more planted.

    • Liz says:

      That’s good to know about May planting. I like the idea of hyped up bunnies – might be fun to watch….

  11. Jodie says:

    After a bumper crop the year before and a poor crop last spring I am wondering about the role of moisture vs the role of feeding. After a wet autumn last year I think I got over cautious about rotting the bulbs and ended up being caught out by the dry spring. This year I have built up the soil with plenty of chook poo- (and I am thinking after reading your blog and comments to add blood and bone). But the water issue is tricky! I have clay soil up one end and sandy (added top soil) on the other as a result I have already managed to over water and rot some of the left overs that came up from last year. PS- your garlic bed made me laugh…. looks like my yard!

    • Liz says:

      I definitely underwatered last Spring too and as a result the size suffered. I reckon I am going to feed more and mulch more as a precaution and hopefully that will work.

  12. andrea says:

    yep chooks can be quite a learning curve and they can cause a lot of damage very quickly! Ha I’m not the only one who forgets where she’s planted something………
    I’m yet to plant out my garlic but I have been preparing the new beds over the last couple of weeks, firstly liming the soil and then digging in heaps of cow/horse manure to build up the soil. Hoping to plant some this weekend.

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