Garlic Planting Workshop

Garlic Workshop w/ Marye Jackson

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As our garden begins to settle into the browns and yellows of fall there are still hints that we are already looking towards to the next cycle of growth and wonder.

Though we won't harvest it until mid-summer next year this past Saturday we planted over 200 garlic cloves.

"Who doesn't like garlic?!"

Well folks either love it or hate it seems but at the workshop we all were in the former group.DSCN0728

Marye Jackson, Garden Extraordinaire, came to us from Shared Harvest where she has been one the key leaders in starting and organizing this successful community garden of 12 years.

We were fortunate to get some seed garlic from Homegrown Farm, a local farm in Bayfield who grows biodynamically (and is said, by those who know such things, to grow the best garlic in Durango!). You can find Homegrown farmers Mike & Emily at the Durango's Farmer's Market.

Here's what we learned...

There are 2 types of garlic:

-Hardneck

-Softneck

The names give one difference away. Softneck garlic has a soft neck, the part just above the ground connecting the bulb with the leaves. This is what you buy in the store and also the kind of garlic that is braided. The bulb is full of lots of small cloves. Hardneck garlic has a hard neck. The bulb has 4-5 large cloves. Hardnecks are Marye's favorite!

We planted German Extra Hardy hardneck and Kettle River Giant softneck.

We dug holes 4 inches deep, 6-8 inches apart
We dug holes 4 inches deep, 6-8 inches apart

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Check out the handout about the different varieties and planting techniques! Garlic Workshop Handout 10.5.13

Garlic is planted by the cloves, not seeds, so you are actually planting a clone of the garlic plant the clove was taken from. Place the clove pointy end up in a whole at least 2 inches deep.

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Garlic is planted in the fall, you don't want it to sprout until the spring though. So you want to plant the garlic once you are confident that the weather will not warm back up tricking the garlic into acting like it is already spring!

The garlic will then be harvested mid-summer the following year. Usually around August. A few weeks before you will stop watering your garlic. This will allow the leaves and outer layers on the bulb to start drying out, making it papery like you see in the store. You will know the garlic is ready when the tips of the leaves start turning brown and dry.

After pulling the garlic out of the ground you can eat it right away or if you would like to store it for the winter you need to let it cure. This involves letting the garlic sit in a dry space with air circulation, and out of the sun and rain. Leave the leaves on for this step. After about a month the leaves should be fully brown and dry. Cut off the leaves and trim the roots. The garlic should last until the next season!

We will know more about this after we do it our selves next summer!

 

Suggested Reading:

A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a  Small New Mexico Farm by Stanley Crawford

(About garlic, about life)

 

 


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