Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garlic Still Going Great Guns

My pleasure in the compost bin turning is nearly matched by my delight in my little plot of garlic. Despite the occasional trodding-on by unwitting visitors, the garlic seems pathetically happy in its lasagna bed location. I suspected it would be, but gardening does nothing if not turn many an assumption on its head on a regular basis. (A fact that keeps me humble or at least regularly reminds me to be so.) Since photos taken in mid-March, the leaves have more than tripled in size and remain brilliantly green. A quick comparison with last year's crop, shows plants already starting to yellow on the bottom and some general unhappiness. A lackluster harvest nearly put me off the idea of growing it entirely, but the allure of its heady aroma proved irresistible. (As did the decidedly beautiful bulbs found at the Earth Day Market last fall that looked like perfect seed stock as well as good eating.)

The biggest difference, other than being planted in the lasagna bed, was the lack of plastic mulch. The soil I created here is loamier by far than the sandy soil that dominates the farm. The black plastic mulch perhaps kept the bulbs too warm during the cold months, and too wet during the warmer months.

If all goes well, I plan to save back a few of the best bulbs from this crop for planting in fall. My gardening partner and I have decided to dedicate a full bed to these bulbs as we both use it extensively in cooking. I also see it as an opportunity to really build up the soil in the beds. I'm almost thinking of doing two beds of garlic, but I think that might be going overboard. The obvious benefit (other than the garlic harvest) would be building up even more soil in the same period of time. The only trick will be holding the materials down on such a large space for the duration of a season. Netting laid directly on the beds, perhaps?

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