Thursday, November 8, 2012

Square Box Gardening #6

My Surprise Garlic Crop!

Maybe you remember me talking about harvesting my crop of Garlic a few months ago. I believe it was toward the middle of August if I remember correctly. I cleaned the whole bed out - or thought I had.  When I was done digging and sifting for Garlic,  I planted several cloves in one of my large Garden  Boxes. So, I had about a quart jar full of nice moderate sized garlic clovesI also had saved several to replant for a fall garden patch. Little did I know that the fun was just starting.

  A couple weeks ago around Halloween time, I noticed these little bushes popping up in my old garlic patch. At first when I pulled one up thought some of my Wild Onions had jumped their fence and gotten loose and were running around in my garden without a leash

 It seems that I had accidentally left a few Garlic cloves in the ground after thinking I had thoroughly cleaned the original patch. I hadn't! Where I had overlooked an old garlic, a nest of new garlic arose! I dug out the first clump thinking they were just weeds. Low and Behold, out come a handful of New garlic plants! Nearly 30! Some were already as big as my thumb. I could see where the original Spring Planted Garlic had disappeared as food for the new ones I suppose. What an amazing process!

It was time to plant Garlic, and dad-gum, if I wasn't ready to set them out then they were just have to start without me! I looked over the the old plot, and there were close to 10 clumps just like the first!  Some much bigger!  I was astounded and bewildered by the discovery of all these Garlic growing health and happy ready to transplant into my Fall Garden.

Just when I was going to go down the Produce Aisle and select a few Grocery Store Elephant Garlic like I did this spring - because Elephant Garlic seems to make a lot of Cloves! I'm not really Thrifty, I'm just Cheap.  Besides, growing Garlic is still new to me.  I'll just experiment and stumble around for a year or two until I get it right. Then I'll have more stories to tell.

The new plants are easily detached from the clump of roots.

 Now, I had to do something with them. As I dug each partial clump out, I dropped them immediately into a half-full Fruit Jar of cool water.

 Golly those jars come in handy, though I have to Beg, Borrow. and sometimes (out of pure desperation you understand) Steal them from my daughter. She did give me the ones with the "Small Mouths" though. Their not good for pickling she says because she can't get her fingers out and she dances around the kitchen with a fruit jar stuck to her finger! Anyway..

I checked the boxes that I had put the mid-august cloves in and there were quite a few missing plants.. I dug around. They were gone. Killed by the summer heat I suspect. They had just rotted away. Planted at the wrong time I guess.. When the experts say plant them in the fall, I guess they mean it!

So I set about planting the newly leafed out garlic cloves into the empty spots in one of my Big Boxes (4 Square Feet).  

As you can see, there are a few Big Leaves on the right side of the 2 X 2 square foot Garden Box.  These are what is left from the planting that was made too early in Mid August. I  have already planted quite a few new garlic in this picture.  I  planted them a little over an inch deep and in rows about 3 inches wide.

The plants are planted 3 inches apart.  This is probably a little closer than recommended, but my "Small Box Gardening" method should allow me to grow Garlic denser than usual. I will  soon be covering all my Garlic over with a thick mulch to protect them over the winter. In the spring about Late March or Early April here in South Central Kansas (zone 6b, I will be pulling the mulch away from the plants as they start to grow. According to the Master Gardeners, I should be pulling  a nice crop of large Elephant Garlic about Late July when the tops start falling over.  Wish me Luck!



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