The summer crops are ripening and you are enjoying the harvest but are hopefully planning for the fall already! Just cause the tomatoes and cucumbers have to go doesn’t mean the garden has to!
Bring that beet back again!(Corny reference to a Dave Matthews lyric) but literally! It’s time to think about those cold weather crops again. Lettuces, carrots, beets, kales, cilantro and many more veggies(actual veggies) love this weather! The temps are colder where they prefer and you can plant them again. They can withstand a frost or two and in some cases prefer a cold frost to taste better!
Garlic planting is almost here! I planted my first garlic in October 2013. Lets just say – this one is prob the easiest. Garlic ‘overwinters’ because it takes so long to grow. I harvested my first garlic in early August 2014 – you do the month math(10)
There are plenty of sources to get garlic, I do prefer using ‘seedsnow.com’ because they deliver in small quantities perfect for the home gardener or even in large quantities for those looking to test some weeding skills. Get organic garlic for your local co-op or organic shopping center(rest assured if it’s from a local farm, it’s organic). Separate the bulb into cloves and plant the cloves pointed end upward 2 inches down and about 8 inches apart(stagger for better spacing – their long leaves will appreciate it). Cover or mulch heavily to make sure it has moisture through the winter months. But don’t worry too much because garlic is a minimalist. I covered my garlic with black tarp, never watered it, and it never saw the sun until April. It was just fine.
This is garlic after winter or no water, no light, and no help. The leaves acted a good insulator and tape help keep too much moisture from destroying it(I think). Either way – garlic grows, but you’ve gotta have patience.
Garlic is high in sulfur(hence why it burns your eyes likes onions when you cut into it). It is a great companion plant to put it where you plan on planting tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. The bulb and roots won’t take up much room and may help deter soil insects from taking hold on sensitive crops. It’s not a shade blocker because it’s stalks are so skinny. It doesn’t compete well with weeds so cucumbers, squash and broad leaf veggie families help garlic keep weeds down with their massive leaves.
I hope to plant a lot of garlic – everywhere. It’s a great interplanting herb and easy to grow. Just a bit of patience and planning ahead for next year and it should do just fine.