This is a first for me, planting garlic at the same time as the other fall bulbs (300 or so Daffodils and about 100 tulips) and I’m looking forward to the harvest next August! I bought some bulbs about a month ago from David McGreery of Riverside Gardens. He was hosting a workshop sponsored by Just Food, an organization in support of growers, locavores and foodies in the Ottawa area. ‘Working toward a just and sustainable food system in Ottawa’ is their mission.
After consulting with David regarding the best varieties for a beginner to start out with, I settled with four: Music, Italian, Czech and German Red. David does many of the local garlic festivals and often sells out so I was lucky with the assortment he had to offer me.
The first job was to separate the bulbs into individual cloves for planting, luckily I had Buddy to help out and keep an eye on things.
Next was choosing a good spot and making sure the bed was well prepped for the bulbs. I settled on the southern most portion of the bed to give good exposure and also to minimize any chance of disturbance next Spring when we plant the rest of the garden.
We had mulched the beds with hay pretty heavily during the growing season and I was amazed at the degree to which the hay had broken down into little tiny bits, giving the soil a nice airy hand. We also added copious amounts of rotted goat manure and the soil seems in much better shape than it was.
We planted the cloves about 4 inches apart and about 4 inches deep; unfortunately the first row came out not quite as straight as I’d hoped and hopefully nobody will notice.
The last thing we did was to mulch heavily with leaves. We’ll keep adding over the next month so that there is good coverage for the winter. We’ve been getting steady rain now too so hopefully they will break down a fair bit before the first snowfall. We’ll probably add a layer of hay before it gets really cold though and pull that off in the Spring, just in time for the baby garlics to start poking their heads out of the soil. Then we wait for the basil and start making one of my favorite foods, garlic pesto!