We’re so excited to put our first crop in the ground! Garlic! Since it needs to be planted in the fall we skipped ahead and got some raised beds prepared. Here in western Washington we get a decent bit of rain through the winter so to keep the bulbs/cloves from becoming water logged we decided to put them in raised beds, with a little drainage help at the bottom.
To set ourselves apart from your average farmers market vendor we’re going to be offering some unique types of garlic you won’t typically find. All organically grow.
- Italian Red
- Vietnamese Red
- German Hardy
- Northern White
- Georgian Fire
- Romanian Red
Our first step was getting the beds prepared. We removed the top layer of grass before setting the bed up, I should have taken more pics but the bed is made of ordinary hemlock fir 2×6 boards so we get a depth of 12 inches (11 technically) and with a length of 16 feet and width of 4 feet we’re able to get 248 heads per bed. We used 6″ spacing to maximize our space. While not visible in the picture, I’ve marked out a grid on the edges of the bed and I used the thin wood strip marked at 6″ intervals to keep my plantings in neat rows.
This is one of 8 raised beds, though not all will have garlic.
Next we needed to separate the cloves from each bulb. The cloves will grow during the winter/spring to form new whole bulbs.
We then needed to sterilize the cloves, we want to be sure we’re not introducing any pathogens from a foreign farm into our own. We used cheap vodka for this but you can also use isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Soak the cloves for about 20min in your solution of choice. You can also reuse it for several batches, especially in it’s full strength form.
Next we want to give the cloves a little nutrient boost by soaking them in liquid fish fertilizer. We used 1 TBSP of fish fertilizer and 1 TBSP of baking soda with about 1/2 gallon of water. You’ll want to soak them at least 15 mins but over night would be best. We chose the overnight soak. When you remove them from the soak you’ll want to plant them right away. We’re not endorsing this brand or anything, it just happens to be what we had.
With our beds ready to go we marked off where each type would go and laid out our bulbs.
We then planted them by just making a hole in the soil with our finger, about 2 inches deep and set the bulbs in each hole. It’s hard to see in the photo but the first bulb has been pushed down to the desired depth, you want to cover it with about 1 inch of soil. Make sure the flat root end is down and the pointy end is up!
The last step was to cover with straw and water them in for the winter. I’m not going to worry too much about watering them through the winter, the rainy season is starting here in Washington so I’ll just keep an eye on them. I’ll check them in a week or 2 for some growth, we’d expect a little bit going into winter.