Plant Garlic This Fall

| 9/23/2015 8:59:00 AM

Fall is garlic planting time and that was evident at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania last weekend. It was in plentiful supply at some of the vendor booths. If you missed the Fair, you could probably still order some from BJ Gourmet Garlic Farm (OH), Botanical Interests (CO), Enon Valley Garlic (PA), Fruition Seeds (NY), High Mowing Seeds (VT), Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA), Sow True Seed (NC), and Turtle Tree Seeds (NY—garlic shipped from Nebraska). When the soil in your garden cools to about 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) it will be ready for garlic.

Garlic is a great crop. Plant it 2 inches deep at about 6 inches apart, cover it with a mulch of leaves, and let it go. It will grow up through the mulch. The mulch keeps the bed weed-free, leaving little for you to do until harvest time, which here in Zone 7 is early June. Just like with other crops, you will find varieties that mature at different rates, spreading the harvest over several weeks if you planted them all.


Before planting I amend the garlic bed with compost and any organic amendments it may need that would be evident from a soil test. I plant garlic on 6-inch centers in an hexagonal pattern. I know farmers who have made a dibble board that is as wide as their garden bed and has pieces of dowels screwed into it every 6 inches, or whatever spacing they are using. It might have several rows marked that way.

By pressing the board to the ground they could put indentations in the soil at each spot, and just as deep as, a garlic clove should go. You could also accomplish this task with a rolling dibble to pull down your bed, marking the planting spots. It makes the actual planting go faster and ensures accuracy if you have inexperienced help.

I met someone years ago who had a custom-made aluminum dibble that marked multiple rows across the bed at the same time. This farmer wanted adequate space for the plants in the middle of the rows and had carefully worked out the spacing so the garlic was 6 inches apart on the outside rows of his 4-foot wide bed and 8 inches apart in the middle.

9/24/2015 7:46:18 AM

Wow, We just received our garlic from enon valley and boy is it nice. couldn't believe they still had so many varieties left, as everyone else seems to be sold out.....

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