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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Planting Garlic on Halloween

After seeing pictures of other gardeners' beautiful garlic harvests earlier this year, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at growing garlic, too. I especially wanted to plant some hardneck garlic so that I could grow and enjoy some delicious garlic scapes in addition to the better flavors of homegrown garlic.  But I didn't realize that seed garlic would sell out so fast from reputable online vendors. I also didn't realize that shipping costs for seed garlic would be so expensive!

Long story short, I did not get around to buying any seed garlic cloves for hardneck garlic varieties this year.  However, I wasn't about to let this deprive me of my garlic growing experience.


So I decided to take the frugal and late-to-the-game approach to growing garlic:  I bought some plain garlic from the grocery store. Yep, the unknown softneck variety.

I took 22 of the best looking garlic cloves and soaked them overnight in some baking soda-and-water solution.  The next day (Halloween!), I peeled the cloves, rinsed them in water and proceeded with planting them in the corner of one of my new raised beds.  I planted them 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart in all directions.  My designated garden fork (formerly known as a dinner fork in the kitchen) worked great for digging 4-inch deep holes for the garlic cloves.  I will mulch this area with some straw next weekend.

I have no idea if any of these supermarket garlic cloves are going to grow and develop new garlic bulbs.  But I do know that if I didn't try, I would never know.  So here goes, my Great Garlic Experiment of 2010-2011!

23 comments:

Heather@myeverydaygraces said...

I think planting garlic on Halloween is perfect! No spooky things getting past that patch of ground:) Bravo for going for it:)

Ribbit said...

Oh man! I wish I would have known. I put in a massive garlic order which included some for five friends, all of whom bailed on me and I've been having to find people to give the extra garlic to. I'm kicking myself.

Thank you for posting on the boy's blog! He was reading what you wrote out loud and got a sheepish grin when he knew I 'heard' the last part. Then he busted out with the "na-na-na boo-boo"s so he was thrilled!

Shawn Ann said...

I did the same thing...supermarket garlic! Some of it is growing already! yay! Hope it goes well for you!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

last year we planted supermarket garlic and it gave us nice bulb. Hope they grow nicely for you as well.

tina said...

I do the cheap way too and buy mine in the grocery store. You just can't beat fresh garlic and it looks like you'll have a good crop.

vrtlarica said...

Hi Minji!
I was told that supermarket garlic can't produce new bulbs. But I read comments and see that it can.
Our supermarket garlic is usually from China, maybe that is the reason, but I never tried to grow new garlic from it.
Good luck!

Robin said...

It's amazing how expensive shipping costs can be sometimes. I have also found that seed potatoes can be expensive to purchase as well. There is a local garlic festival near here in September. That is where I originally purchased my garlic. Now, I just pick my best heads and plant them! It will be interesting to see how your garlic grows!

Anna said...

That is a great idea. I'll have to try that. Hope it isn't too late up here in Northern Wisconsin. Can't wait to see how your garlic turns out next year.

Dirt Lover said...

Hey! You are way far ahead of me! I cleaned out my pantry this past month, and found a bag of garlic leftover from spring. Then I saw garlic at the local hardware store that I thought about getting. The garden isn't really ready yet, though. This weekend!!! Let us know how it goes.
~~Lori

Sara said...

I think you did an amazing job to go to so much trouble. I have never peeled my garlic cloves before planting, nor soaked them. Just planted the biggest of the separated cloves blunt end down and usually saw a a little growth before winter and then Feb. on.Good Luck!

thyme2garden said...

Heather - thank you! I was waiting for the first frost, which happened just three days before Halloween. So it was time!

* * * * *
Ribbit - thanks for the thought. Hope you found a good home for all the extra garlic! I think your boy's blog is totally awesome.

* * * * *
Shawn Ann - I hope I have the same success that you had!

* * * * *
MK girl - thank you, that's nice to hear!

* * * * *
tina - ohh, good to hear another success story. thank you!

* * * * *
vrtlarica - hi!!! Nice to see you here again. I keep waiting for your next post, but I know you'll be back when the time is right. I've also heard of some people having no luck growing garlic from the supermarket, but others do. So I just had to see it for myself. I guess some supermarket garlic is sprayed/treated to prevent sprouting, and those probably can't grow.

* * * * *
Robin - ohh you're right about seed potatoes. I'll have to figure out what to do about potatoes next year.

* * * * *
Anna - I'm guessing your temps are much colder than ours already. I've read that the best time to plant garlic in the north is just after the first frost, but I see that some people do it a few weeks before the first frost (if they can time it right). I say just go for it and see what happens!

* * * * *
Dirt Lover - ah, you can afford to take your time because it's probably still warm(ish) where you are. I'll let you know how mine turn out!

* * * * *
Sara - thank you! I wanted to give my supermarket garlic as much of a chance to grow well as they could, if they will grow at all. I've also heard of people just planting unpeeled garlic and having fine luck with it.

meemsnyc said...

We planted garlic for the first time too recently and I didn't buy seed garlic either. I bought garlic from a farmer in upstate NY. Recommended by my father-in-law the farmer. Our garlic has sprouted, so far so good. I can't wait to get scapes! I think your supermarket garlic should work. I've known people to do that before.
http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2010/10/first-garlic-bed-and-bit-worried.html

thyme2garden said...

meemsnyc - you were lucky to find a local supplier of hardneck garlic! I hope they grow well for you!

Amy said...

Hi. I just wanted to know what the significance of soaking the garlic in the baking soda & water? Thanks. :)

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