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The Garlic Is In

Thanksgiving weekend finally provided us with a respite from rainy weather, allowing the garden to dry out enough to plant our fall garlic.

Growing garlic is remarkably easy. Garlic is said to grow in a wide variety of soil types, in fact I was told at the Stratford Garlic Festival that, over time, garlic adapts to the soil it is planted in. That is why if you want a great crop you should purchase garlic cloves locally. Grocery store garlic is often sourced from China and does not make good seed garlic. Choose bulbs with a nice shape and plump cloves. Generally, the larger the clove, the larger the bulb you will harvest next season. Earlier this spring I ordered some garlic cloves to be delivered in the fall from Veseys. They arrived in mid-September and we put them aside in our wine cellar until ready to plant. Then, in late September, we attended the Stratford Garlic Festival where I picked up several varieties of local garlic bulbs. There was just no comparing the two. The Veseys cloves were not fresh and were pitted with brown patches. In contrast, the garlic bulbs we purchased at the Garlic Festival were plump, juicy and free of disease and damage.

Plant garlic three to four weeks before freezing, for our zone 5 garden that means anywhere from mid to late October. Separate cloves from the bulb, planting largest cloves and eating the smallest. Plant the garlic seed 5 to 6 inches apart with the tips up. Cover the top with 3/4 inch to 1 inch of soil and gently pat down the top layer of soil. And in my case, watch the deer tromp over the top of the bed two weeks later! As you can see from my markers, this year we planted 8 different varieties. I’m curious to see if I’ll notice any difference in taste.

Basically that’s it. In spring, the garlic will sprout and grows with fairly little care. Water during severe dry periods, and enjoy some fresh garlic next season.

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