Falling for Garlic

| 11/15/2018 9:01:00 AM

Fall colors 

Fall in Northern Arizona is one of those seasons that vaguely resembles what people typically consider fall; browning leaves, cool temperatures. But it is different than the rest of Arizona because of the unique tendency of fall to be BITTER cold one day and 60º the next, raining in the morning and snowy by afternoon. One thing that Northern Arizonans can focus on besides the bizarre weather is planting their garlic. 

Garlic is a leaf crop, not a root crop as some might think. As such, the best way to get large, hardy bulbs of garlic is to make sure your soil has enough nitrogen. Nitrogen runs through soil like mad, so adding a nice layer of mulched leaves will help the nitrogen be released into the soil as the winter snow and rain break down the organic material. 

What I always do is turn my soil. I don't typically till, but the Texas Blueweed that runs rampant in my yard and garden sends runners down for 30 feet. In order to stop weeds popping up in garden beds, I dig as much of it out as I can. We also have very dense, sticky clay soil that needs to be perforated in order to let water and nutrients down to the root zone. Then I break up any huge clumps of soil by hand, and rake it fairly smooth. I don't use a lot of tools in the soil while I'm planting, so I need the soil to be soft enough that I can push the garlic clove down into the soil. This "turning over" of soil just makes that possible.

Garlic came in individually-wrapped varieties.

This year, I went with Filaree Farms for garlic and was very pleased. I got several different kinds of garlic, including their new "Burque" variety. It smelled amazing when I took it out of the carefully packaged bags. I tried four of their varieties, including my favorite Chesnok Red, which I grow every year with great success, Inchelium Red, and a Silver White variety. 

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