16 Nov 2010

Heirloom garlic planting

by Lou Altamura

Back in September, after the pepper garden was razed, I decided to plant some heirloom garlic for next season. I had surprisingly good success this year with just some ordinary supermarket garlic that I planted on a whim, so I figured that investing in some good quality seed stock would be exponentially better. I decided to purchase my garlic stock from D. Landreth Seed Company since they had a booth at a craft festival in our area back in the spring. They have a really nice collection of heirloom seeds and a neat artistically illustrated catalog. I've never bought from them before, but the seed stock that I received from them was gorgeous.

Chesnok Red

Nootka Rose



The soil here is pretty fertile, but I freshened the plot up with a few bags of leaf compost anyway and gave everything a good once over with my cultivator. After gently breaking apart the cloves, I laid them out in rows spaced about 6 inches apart and pressed them about 2 inches into the soil. In total, I planted about 110 cloves. So next year's harvest should be big.


This past weekend, we already have plenty of green growth. Most of this will either die back or go dormant once it gets really cold around here, but this early growth will help prevent the garlic from heaving out of the soil once it freezes. I've also covered everything in a thick layer of lawn clippings. I've found this is a great mulch and really minimizes weed growth.

Well, that it's for now. In June, I should have plenty of garlic necklaces for everyone!

About the author:

Lou Altamura is a dirtologist in western Maryland, where he grows fruits and vegetables for his family, friends, and most of all ... for fun! He is the author of the blog "dirtology: a journal of a man and his dirt."