Garlic and Vampires
Growing up many of us learned that the best way to avoid Vampires was to wear garlic around our necks. And it’s interesting that Garlic planting season is close to Halloween! But what kind of garlic should you plant?
Garlic is a member of the Allium family which includes onion, shallot, leek, and chives. There are two basic kinds of Garlic: softneck and hardneck. Softneck garlic often grows smaller bulbs and is better suited for warmer climates. Hardneck garlic produces larger bulbs but also has fewer cloves. Additionally, hardneck garlic will form a scape in the late spring. This scape is actually a flower stalk but should be removed to allow energy to focus on the bulb. Don’t feel you are losing anything by removing the scapes, they are edible! Hardneck garlic is best grown in cooler regions.
The Master Gardener Volunteers have decided to grow garlic this year in a strawbale in the Demo Garden. Thank you to Laura and Carol for providing the conditioning of the bale. As with any of the strawbales, this was a 12-day process of watering and adding fertilizer.
Today the bale was ready to plant. Susan and Deb prepared the garlic by breaking loose individual cloves. These cloves were placed, point up, into the bale approximately 2 inches deep at 6-inch intervals. A checkerboard pattern was used to maximize planting. The bale was then topped with a few inches of potting soil which was watered to hold it in place. This bale will be watered during the winter as needed. It should be noted that sometimes the cloves will sprout early but this is normal and not a problem.
Garlic is harvested in the early summer when the bottom third of the leaf stalks begin to yellow.
If you come by our Demo Garden in the next couple of weeks, know that you are protected from Vampires if you stand by the Garlic Strawbale.
—Deb Garner, OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer, Clermont County