It'll be October soon. Time to think about planting fall bulbs. Hyacinths, Tulip, Daffodil, Crocus, Frittilarias, Garlic, all kinds of bulbs are best planted in the fall once the hot weather is over.
I'm going to take my time this fall (instead of procrastinating) and start planting my garlic a little bit earlier than I usually do, so I can plant a leisurly few rows each week and make a little experiment out of it. I always hope to learn something. If I manage to avoid the massive November backache too, that will be a pleasant side effect.
I have planted garlic as late as mid-december and still had a very good crop, but my soil always gets enough snow cover to keep it from freezing. The ground stays soft and moist all winter under the snow and the garlic's root systems grow slowly, but steadily all winter long. If your soil is exposed and freezes during your winter, I would suggest planting sooner rather than later to give the root systems time to develope before the soil does freeze.
Today, I started the process.
- Evacuate most of the weeds and rototill the soil as deep as possible. I believe that the FLUFFIER the soil, the better.
- Prepare your planting stock by breaking apart the individual cloves and set aside the small ones (like the one on the left). The small ones taste as good as the big ones, so I'll be roasting all the little ones a bit later. Plant the biggest ones. It doesn't matter a bit if the 'paper' comes off the clove or stays on.
- You can plant them in a single row if you wish, but I have found that I can grow them in a double row just as happily so I space them just far enough apart top allow my favorite weed hoe to get in between them. The are about 16-18 inch aisles between the double rows.
- Then I simply poke the cloves right-side-up (point up - scar down) into the fluffy soil so the base is about 3-4 inches deep and I don't bother to smooth out the soil. Rain will catch in the mini divots my hand leaves and you won't see any hint of the divots come spring anyway.
- I label the row and move on. I try to avoid compacting the soil once the bulbs are planted.
- ignore then all winter. (My favorite part) Then, come spring, when the snow melts, they will be up like the tulips.
- When the leaves go yellow - then start to brown in mid-summer, I dig them up & hang them out of the sun to dry out & cure.