" Think this is enough garlic? "
Garlic's up! Yeah, I know, I had a picture of this garlic posted on Saturday, but it's just too good not to talk about.
|Garlic's up. Organized too! Now 12" high|
It's even taller now, and wow, it is growing fast. This larger species of garlic will grow about 4' tall. Maybe higher!
I didn't want anyone to think this little bed was ALL the garlic we had planted last September before the ground froze solid. This small bed is mulched with old hay and lawn clippings.
The following picture is the OTHER garlic bed. It has tiny, medium and mature garlic plants growing happily almost in a row. Well, okay, it's not really a row, more like a collection of plants growing every which way in a raised bed and quite happily, too, I insist. There are a few freestyle opportunists sprouting . A bit disorganized, dropped or missed bulbils or seed, I concede. So what? It's garlic.
This garlic was planted in mid-September about an inch deep or so, and covered and mulched heavily with peat moss. About two weeks later a couple of volunteer test cloves were dug up for inspection. No top growth was visible, but the roots on the cloves were already a couple of inches long. The ground froze solid a couple weeks later and they spent all winter under about 2 feet of snow. No matter, apparently they continue to grow more roots anyway. Storing up energy for spring. Good thing. With our weird weather, we never know!
|Now THAT is Garlic--Big and Small|
Some might assume the fall planting method is a bit of a stretch, a gardener's imagination at work. Perhaps it's just satisfaction at seeing a great, long raised bed of garlic springing up early in May, thick as lawn grass on steroids.
Think this is enough garlic? There's at least a half dozen blades of grass in the bed too. Any good gardener knows 'ya gotta have at least a half dozen weeds, or it wouldn't be gardening!
How to grow Garlic, or 'big and small, we like it all '
If you want to start small and inexpensive, but grow a lot of garlic, take a longer term viewpoint.
- Get a garlic bulb. One will do for a small start, but get three or four, and divide the bulbs into cloves--or just pick up some garlic cloves from your closest garden center. Eat the small ones, and whether you intend to plant in the early spring or late fall, -- plant only the big ones.
- Watch them grow.
- Let the stalks (called 'scapes') curl and grow full height, and when ripe, pick off the florets which consist of dozens of seeds called bulbils, and allow them to dry.
- The seeds , or bulbils (they look like tiny bulbs) are your key to garlic galore. Let them dry; you'll have handfuls of them. Save them.
- Harvest the full sized garlic bulbs, braid, hang and dry the big bulbs. If you eat any, save the biggest cloves for planting again in the fall. Why big and small? Garlic grows bigger if big cloves are planted. Best genetics and all, we must assume.
- In the fall, a couple of weeks after the first frost-- plant those big cloves you saved
- Plant the tiny garlic bulbils from the 'florets' while you're at it. You can sprinkle those in a wide, shallow trench and cover them with an inch of soil. Sprinkle mulch on top to keep the moisture in.
- The following season, you'll be harvesting mature garlic bulbs from the big cloves, and small round bulbs from the gazillion 'seeds', --some may have even formed bulbs of tiny 'cloves'.
- In the fall, you'll plant those small bulbs in nice straight rows, not like mine! Plant them about 3 to 6 inches apart, they're only little anyway. They will produce bigger bulbs.
- Of course you'll also have big, mature garlic growing from the big cloves you planted! Harvest, dry and divide the bulbs. Again, always save the biggest cloves for planting. Eat the rest, roast a few with butter, and scare off vampires and old lovers.
- Repeat the process every year, planting 'seed-bulbils', small bulbs, and the largest cloves.
- Mature garlic bulbs and big cloves are now plentiful,-- and you have three generations of garlic.
If you like eating salad greenery, don't forget to pick the scapes (the center stalk that produces the florets) after the scape curls and the bud forms, but before it opens. Scapes are wonderful sauteed or raw in salads.
You'll have a bushel of them in no time too. You will also have garlic galore.
Does garlic, allium sativum of the Liliaceae family, have exotic medical uses, or scare away slugs and bugs and vampires? History suggests it does. Garlic, although the bane of fresh breath, acts a natural antiseptic, helps you get healthy, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Admittedly it does give the garlic-lover 'garlic breath' . Now what? Chew a sprig of parsley.
You have garlic galore.
I say, share it... , and enjoy garlic together.
Is that incoming I hear?