Getting the garlic planted is always a grounding experience for me. Just as the summer garden is being dismantled, the promise of garlic is being buried for safe keeping until the spring.
Preparation of the beds
I plant the garlic in 4x8 foot raised beds. To prep them I first weed and then mix in Azomite and Harmony to the top layer. Then I shovel the top layer of the left half of the bed, about 4 inches, over to the right side. Again I apply Azomite and Harmony and add colloidal clay and work that in. Next a sprinkling of grass clippings followed by a 2 inch layer of the lamb manure compost I made this summer. Then I cover that with the soil I removed and repeat this for the right side. I let the beds sit for about 3 weeks like this.
This year I had a new tool to work with. Hunter made this wonderful planting marker that we used to mark the beds in a 5x8 inch spacing. I was able to get 13 rows of 10 cloves to a row or 130 head to a bed. The marker isn’t intended to actually dibble the holes, but it does lay out the grid. I then went through and stuck my thumb in each hole and then squirted water from my handy dishsoap container into each hole (great garden tool). Next I planted the cloves about 4 inches deep. I watered them for about a week and then put a mulch of grass clippings over each bed. In the past I’ve used straw, but after re-reading the planting advice in Growing Great Garlic I decided to use the grass. The idea is that the mulch will break down in May about the time the garlic needs the nitrogen.
Each year when I finish planting I have way too many loose cloves left over from my planting stock. Once garlic has been broken up, it starts to sprout more readily, so I was always in a race to use up the loose cloves. After reading so many enthusiastic reviews in Garden Voices about green garlic this past spring, I decided to put my loose cloves to work. Any empty space in the garden is now hosting garlic cloves. I will use them as spring onions and harvest them before they ever have a chance to bulb.