Sue Smith’s Blog for Fresh Pasta

Our garlic planting at Tabletop Farm is on a roll. We’ve planted about 1000 cloves for harvest in 2013. Each garlic clove planted will produce a bulb with 5 or more cloves depending on the variety planted. Most of the garlic we plant is purple-pink skinned and intensely favoured. Planting usually happens mid October, when the roots still have time to be established and they will keep growing under a thick layer of mulch and a bed of snow.
 
We plant individual cloves about 6" apart, pointy end up and about 3 to 4 inches deep. We then mulch with a thick layer of straw or leaves to protect the garlic from fluctuating temperatures, to conserve moisture, to reduce the need for weeding and to add much needed organic matter to the soil as the mulch decomposes.
 
Garlic does not need watering through its growing season as the fall rains, winter snow and spring rains are usually sufficient. The extreme dry 2012 season produced a great garlic crop for us with no additional water. A dense mat of leaf mulch may require a light raking to break it up to allow the greens to sprout.

We grow garlic at our Tabletop Farm for its many health-promoting qualities. The flavour of our homegrown garlic is much superior to imported garlic. Sometime in June, ‘garlic scapes’ will curl out of the greens to be snapped off and used just like garlic that is called for in recipes.
 
We make lots of garlic scape pesto with walnuts and a good olive oil, yum! The garlic is ready for harvest at the end of July or early in August, depending on the variety. Pull it up and hang with stalks in a dry location for 3 weeks, then cut the stalks and store in covered baskets or paper bags in a cool, dry location, not in the fridge! Garlic will keep through the winter, add lots of flavours, and contribute to great health! Happy garlic planting and good garlic eating!