Fall has definitely arrived here in central Ohio and who would I be if I didn't start planning for it before summer was even over! I found a vendor at the downtown farmer's market that was selling these massive garlic bulbs that he stated were German Hard Neck Garlic. I've done garlic in the past and determined that hard neck varieties work better than soft neck in my cold hardiness zone (6a). So what's the little urban farmer to do... buy six of these massive mothers of course!
Now, as a reward for the change of seasons, in addition to removing the last vestiges of plant matter from the raised garden plots, I also get to start prepping and planning for the next growing season. Well, technically, I removed the exhausted plants a few weeks ago, but who's counting. This weekend however, I got the garlic cloves planted. It didn't take long to do this. What actually took some time was getting all of the leaves from the crap scrub trees out of the bed and surrounding area.
Man I can't wait to cut those bastards down and turn them into some nice split firewood!
Any way, this year I planted German Hard Neck Garlic. Look at the size of these cloves!
Amazingly, there were only eight cloves in the bulb. WOW!
In the northern climes, garlic performs best when planted in the fall and is then covered with a nice bed of straw. I like to plant my cloves so that the root end is approximately 2-3" deep and each clove is about 6" - 8" apart.
Interestingly enough, I made my holes for the cloves before I realized there were only 8 cloves per bulb. Oh well. Anyway, I also chose this particular bed because it houses my asparagus crowns and they needed to be over wintered with straw as well. Two birds, one stone baby!
The trick with asparagus is basically you have to plant it and wait at least one growing season, possibly even two or three depending on a variety of factors. Things like drainage, heat, and sunlight all will determine how long it takes your crowns to mature. The family loves asparagus so I planted it this year in the hopes that it is ready next year. Once it's established though, you're ready to go. You just can harvest anything the first year.
Back to garlic...
As I was saying, I like to plant my garlic cloves with the root end 2" - 3" deep. These cloves were so massively huge that the pointy tips were almost above grade! Once they were in the ground, I covered them with more dirt and then unleashed the straw!
In the spring, I'll lay out some more newspaper over the grass path ways and fill that with about 2" of rock. No more weed eating in the garden for me! You'll also notice that I left the leaf matter in the remaining beds. It's basically free organic matter and it'll get chopped up and turned in to the beds by the tiller in the spring.