Written by: Sumati Shah; Go Go Green Thumbs
In the autumn of 2019, later than usual (November), I planted a bag of garlic bulbs from the season before, which I’d neglected.
Spring 2020 and my garlic sprouted as expected, but then before the scapes even formed their beautiful curlicues (my cue to harvest those and watch for the leaf tips to start yellowing) they just died off.
Horror! Confusion! But, there was nothing to be done. I already know that this sunny well draining site tends to be dry but that maybe there are a few clay pan patches below…so the summer continued with no garlic harvest. I left the disappearing garlic to its devices, expecting the bulbs to become compost.
Spring 2021 and suddenly there’s garlic again! It didn’t rot, probably due to my late planting but that’s all hindsight….I have a garlic crop now!
This time, I harvested all my happy curly scapes and after another couple of weeks, I’ve dug up all the garlic and I have some lovely heads curing before I further prepare them for storage. I expect these to store through most of the winter, although in my house, this much garlic won’t likely last that long.
Rule of Green Thumbs: Plant garlic bulbs in the Autumn. I know, I know, they’re sold in the spring… But in the Southern Ontario region (I’m in zone 6b but this would be true anywhere cooler than zone 9) it’s best to plant in the late autumn, harvest scapes in the spring, and the bulbs in the summer. The timing will be a little different for everyone, every garden really exists in it’s own microclimate. But that general cycle will be common to everyone.
Want to know more about garlic? Stay tuned for next week! Just like the garlic plant itself, to be continued…
Go Go Green Thumbs!