This year I planted about 30 pounds of garlic cloves. I chose four varieties to plant: Chesnok Red, German White, German Red, and Elephant garlic.
To get the soil ready to plant garlic, I did a light pass of the rototiller over a recently mowed section of the field. Then I made beds using my rototiller and the furrow attachment. The soil was still a bit on the wet side so I waited until the next day before applying the fertilizer and planting the garlic. I figured I would just need four 50 foot beds to fit all my seed garlic, I actually needed seven beds.
One reason for my under estimate of the growing space was that this is my first year growing German Red which I ordered 10 pounds of and each head contained many more cloves than I expected. It took up twice as much space as the German White which I also ordered 10 pounds of.
After having so much success growing Chesnok Red garlic last time, I made sure to get garlic seed for this growing season. Many companies were sold out of it but I was able to find some at Filaree Garlic Farm. I must say this is some of the most beautiful Chesnok Red I have come across. The purple stripes are very pronounced and a vivid purple. While I was on Filaree’s website I saw they had Elephant garlic, it has been years since I have been able to get my hands on certified organic Elephant garlic seed so I had to order some. Elephant garlic cloves are huge, not a big surprise. So instead of the normal 6″ plant spacing, I give them 12″ to make sure they have plenty of room to grow big and beautiful. Fun fact: Elephant garlic is not actually garlic it is a leek and possesses a much milder flavor than traditional garlic.
After planting all the garlic I sprinkled a bit of compost on top of the beds and spread a thick layer of straw over all of it. Mulching garlic is one of the keys to successful garlic growing. I use straw over my garlic beds but you could also use dried leaves, grass clipping, or pine needles. This prevents weeds and encourages good soil structure. The garlic will easily grow through the mulch so apply it right after planting.
The garlic will slowly grow through the winter and then the green stakes will really start to take off around March. Then we should have some garlic scapes to harvest in May or June. But the dried garlic heads won’t be ready for sale until like July. So for now we wait.