Since garlic was one of the few things we managed to grow successfully in this summer of failures, I decided we should plant more than last year.
I followed the lead of our CSA, Restoration Farm. Since they planted last Saturday (and we went to help for a little while, which refreshed our memories on how to plant) and Caroline said she follows biodynamic practices for most auspicious sowing moments, we planted a day or two later, which was about as soon as I could manage.
We used the tomato bed, since it is a good idea to rotate vegetables every year. If any pests or blights have made a home in the bed, when spring comes they won’t find their usual victims waiting to be destroyed. Instead, they’ll find something else that they don’t like very much and can’t harm. We’ll put the tomatoes where the peas were and where there should be a whole lot of nitrogen that they left behind.
The bed is about 10′ by 3′. Farmer Dan suggested we plant the garlic every 9 inches in rows 1 foot apart, which meant we could stretch a measuring tape across and Leandro could learn a lot about the 9 times tables. So we turned the dirt, outlined three rows and made holes every nine inches (How many cloves do you think we planted?). We separated the heads into cloves, being careful to leave the cloves tightly wrapped in their papery husks so they don’t rot before they have a chance to overwinter and start sprouting in the spring.
You stick them in, root end down and pointy bit up, cover and, if necessary, water. Then you play football in the backyard until the sun gets too far down in the sky and it gets cold.
And the answer to how many is: 30 cloves, each of which we hope will result in a new delicious head of 4 to 10 cloves next summer. And in the meantime, we can just forget them!