Planting Garlic

We managed to get the garlic planted on Friday(17th Dec). We planted the 2010 crop on 27th/28th December 2009. This is the usual time we plant garlic, certainly for the last 6 or more years. but the last 2 winters have been so cold & the ground quite frozen solid I think we’re going to have to review our planting schedule next year & consider an earlier start.We also had a problem with white rot developing in the crop in late Spring in the beds at the bottom of the allotment(we lost 2/3rds of the crop), so we’ve had to map cases of white rot across our plot before deciding where to plant our next crop (I will post about white rot in Problems at some stage).

Beds prepared for garlic planting, forked over to break up frozen ground

beds prepared

We had spent the previous Sunday preparing the 2 beds -I’d had to fork over the surface to break the ground up -it was frozen to @ 6″. We had used these beds during 2010 for maincrop potatoes so the rotation sequence is right; we’d also earthed up using compost from our compost pile, so there should be plenty of nutrients left for the garlic crop.

We prepared the bed with planting holes 7″ X 7″ apart in staggered rows, using a planting line & a metal tipped dibber.

planting holes 7''x7'' staggered rows

planting holes approx. 7"x 7" for garlic cloves

[Remember to plant garlic with the root end downwards -it’s easy to forget to do this!]  The garlic cloves were then covered with at least 1″ of soil before both beds were covered in netting to prevent animals/birds from pulling the cloves up. We will remove the netting once the plants have about 2″ of growth.

I normally plant out our own saved garlic, but because we had White Rot in the crop this year I hesitated to use what did survive in case it might still be harbouring spores. CVs planted: Sicilian Red Nubian; Chesnok Wight; Early Purple Wight; Iberian Wight; Venetian Wight; Tuscany Wight -all from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight (quite expensive, but couldn’t find the range of cvs elsewhere). I’ve attached a picture as bulb & broken into cloves; it’s important only to break up the bulbs just before planting, otherwise the cloves can dry out or become damaged – i intend to compare our crop with the seed crop when we harvest it.

Sicilian Red Nubian Garlic

sicilian red nubian garlic

We will give them a feed in late February/early March with bonemeal & seaweed meal – bonemeal is approx: 3-5% Nitrogen + 20-25% Phosphorus -phosphorus is important for good root growth, nitrogen for leafy growth & rapid growth in spring. I’ll post pictures as the crop develops.


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