Confessions of a garlic junkie

It’s a good thing Brad and I are married to each other because no one else could tolerate our inappropriate love of garlic. We never get enough in our CSA to satisfy our addiction, so I’m attempting to grow a smackload of it in containers right now.

Since, in theory, you can save seed bulbs each year, I wanted a good, solid parent stock to kick off the experiment. I decided to splurge on a half-pound of organic silver rose silverskin garlic from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. This a softneck variety, which means it should be more productive and have a longer storage capacity.

Garlic roots need air as much as water, so I added plenty of soil-less potting mix to the container soil. Then all you have to do is break up the seed bulbs, pick the largest cloves, and plant them a couple of inches down, pointy-side up. Be sure to leave about 6″ between each one – with that spacing, I was able to put four bulbs in each pot. Around here, early November is the best time to plant, and I’ll look to harvest next summer when one-third to one-half of the leaves have dried and bent toward the ground.

Garlic needs plenty of sunlight, so the containers are living on top of the deck. It must be a good life up there, because they all seem pretty happy. The bulbs went in the dirt on November 4, and the first one sprouted November 17. Even in this extreme drought, I’ve only had to water twice. My guess is the soil-less potting mix is doing a nice job of holding on to moisture.

I’ll update you guys on the container garden as the season progresses.

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  • We love garlic too. I’ve been growing our garlic for the past 4 years or so. It’s ridiculously easy to grow. I put the cloves in the ground in October and harvest in early summer when the tops dry up and flop over. I save the best bulbs to replant again in October. Garlic does fine through our winters and you can use the green tops like green onions or chives when you’re cooking.

    I don’t know how cold it gets where you live, but garlic can freeze in a potted container. You don’t have to worry about it freezing if you put it directly into the ground. Of course, you can also bring your containers indoors if it’s going to get really cold.

  • Thanks for the tip – I’ll be sure to keep an eye on them when it freezes. Thankfully that doesn’t happen too often down here. What varieties do you plant?

    Happy Christmas!

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