It’s time to dig those garlic bulbs around here. We’ve been getting a few as we needed them for cooking, but now it’s time to take out the crop. I like to dig them and let them dry in the shed, so that in early October I can split the cloves for planting.
Yes, around here at least, we plant garlic in early October. I just work the rows and place a clove every ten inches or so. The idea is to get a couple of good rains on the planted crop before freeze- up, and have the cloves send out roots and get established so the next spring they can get a great start and race to maturity.
There are of course many possible ways that the plans can go awry. Last year for example, we got very little rain in the fall and many of the garlic bulbs did not establish and root in the fall. That cut down on the crop that we got this summer. Of course too much rain can delay or even stop planting. A few years ago we just “mudded” them in. Fortunately garlic is a very winter hardy and resilient crop.
Like many things, garlic growing is all about planning ahead. You need to have the soil ready and the cloves of garlic separated. Of course the concept of planting a crop in October to harvest the following July is the greatest exercise in planning ahead. Timeliness and for-thought are always very important in gardening.
Sometimes we barely have enough time or take thought to plan what supper might be each day. Now of course, in high summer we gardeners need only to look at the garden and a menu appears, yet planning was a part of that as well. Living on the land in flyover country is itself an exercise in planning. Planning ahead can be a burden, but it can also be as interesting as a game of chess, leading to an outcome that is not always as predictable as we might wish, but an interesting game, nonetheless.