Planting season is upon us. Our families have been down and dirty helping out at this busy time - all very helpful. Ziggy by contrast, our accounts clerk and miniature Australian horse pushed this chair up and down the path trying to be part of the business action.
Great garlic is easy to grow providing you have good quality seed cloves, well fed soil with suitable trace elements and a crisp winter. Most cold climate garlic is planted in March and harvested in December. If you can source real garlic cloves (not the imported fumigated-to-prevent-sprouting types) you can split bulbs into single cloves. Prepare your soil by removing weeds, raking it over and adding home made compost, stirring that through. On a large scale you would also soil test and adjust micronutrients like boron. At home, achieving sweet smelling crumbly soil will be fine. Plant your cloves hairy end down, pointy end up at about 35-40 to the square metre. The cloves don't have to be really deep, just keep the tip level with the soil. The rows photo above is before covering the rows back over. We plant in rows, cloves about 10cm apart and rows a boot width apart. Nothing better than being able to put a boot between the rows when you're weeding. Mulch well with fluffed up mulch (we use rice straw that hangs on very well and has few weed seeds) and give it all a drink. Sit back and enjoy your handywork with a cup of tea yourself. Weeks later you will see little green shoots appearing between the mulch. Stay on top of the weeds as the competition reduces garlic bulb size. Water when it is really dry but lots of the time rainfall will suffice. A spray with diluted worm wee will boost growth.
Later in the season we will blog about how to harvest and dry your garlic bulbs.