Planting Garlic Before the Sun Goes Down

My husband came through the door about 30 minutes earlier than usual this evening. “Quick!” he said, “Let’s plant the garlic before the sun goes down.”

I was fiddling with an image in Photoshop and the glow of my computer screen temporarily blinded me. Hadn’t the sun already gone down? But there was still time.

We raced to the barn where the garlic was drying in the rafters after we pulled it up in late July. Grabbing the best bunch of the largest heads (R had marked these so we wouldn’t eat them), we bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.

R husked the cloves, papery chaff falling across the grass like wedding confetti. He had the furrows hoed in a flash and I started tucking in cloves, six inches apart. Fingers in the dirt—an instant cure to stresses from the day—from the last week that still linger. The soil just soaked them up, thank you very much. And left my fingertips muddy and skin dry and smooth.

I was glad that we ran out of cloves and I had to run back to the porch for a few more heads. It gave me an excuse to grab the camera. All before the sun went down.

32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kate George
    Oct 22, 2012 @ 22:03:11

    Beautiful. You are so lucky.


  2. anjnj
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 02:47:49

    Wonderful photos! I so often don’t remember the camera… and what a great prospect, there’s nothing like homegrown garlic.


  3. joslittlepictures
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 02:52:28

    Mine were in the ground in June, I made midwinter this time, and now they are growing lots of leaves next to the shallots, and I am hoping for a good crop round Christmas. There is nothing like fresh, sticky garlic!


  4. sannekurz
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 03:59:12

    Fingers in the dirt is the best cure for almost everything in life, I feel.


  5. ayna
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 05:28:37

    great photos!🙂


  6. lionwomen
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 06:34:43

    I love garlic i’m slowly getting my daughter to eat it great pic🙂


  7. Erin
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 07:38:47

    I was out planting my garlic yesterday also. The overnight rain watered in the cloves. Just have to see if the local raccoon left them alone. It can’t resist the smell of kelp meal and compost!


    • Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
      Oct 23, 2012 @ 07:47:43

      It seems like we’ve all been out planting garlic. My friend way way out in Manitoba put some in yesterday too! We’ve had raccoons fighting under the birdfeeder at night-right below our window :-{ But not messing in the garden. Crazy beasties! xox


  8. Twila
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 08:07:12

    I’ve never planted garlic. Can you just plant what you get at the store? And I’m assuming it needs to overwinter in the ground?


    • Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
      Oct 23, 2012 @ 10:21:36

      Store garlic can be planted, but some are sprayed with sprout inhibitors. If you get organic garlic it should sprout. Break up the heads into individual cloves. Plant with tips up about 6″ apart in rows a foot or so apart. We cover with a mulch of leaves or hay here because of the cold winter and pull of the mulch after the snow melts in the spring. The green shoots are great to see when everything else is still brown. The garlic is ready to harvest in late July. Pull it up with the stalks attached and hang it in a dry place out of the sun to dry (we tie about 10-12 stalks with twine and hang them upstairs in our barn. A garage would be good or a porch away from sunshine. Keep the biggest heads to plant in the fall and share/eat the rest!


  9. The Siren's Tale
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 11:39:37

    “We bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.”

    Every entry you write is so beautifully constructed. You paint a beautiful picture in the reader’s mind!


  10. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    Oct 23, 2012 @ 22:58:41

    Just think of what you’ll be growing.. and what an adventure to do this just as the sun is setting! I’m glad you got the chance to snap some photos for us!


  11. Dalila
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:33:48

    I planted mine the other day(s – on Sunday and Monday) as well but I didn’t take great photos like yours!
    It’s been a crummy-ish autumn here in Ontario with such little sun and now it’s setting so soon… Still, the leaf colours have been deep.
    What variety did you plant?


    • Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
      Oct 24, 2012 @ 15:53:30

      Hi Dalila, Sorry to say I don’t know the variety. This is our fourth season with this type, each year saving the best heads to plant. I love the purple hues and it is intense in flavor when it is first harvested (too spicy for my daughter to like) and then mellows as it hangs to dry. It sounds like we’ve had a similar autumn to you—lost many leaves to rain and wind.


  12. thefieryredhead
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 16:54:10

    Well, color me surprised. I didn’t know this is how garlic grows! I wonder if I could try this in a window box?!


  13. Nerd With Taste
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 13:18:38

    This is such a nice story! I especially love your hand covered in dirt, and how rushed you and your husband were to plant garlic. It’s so simple. But it’s so significant to life. LOVE IT! ~


  14. heidisarttrunk
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 00:51:39

    I LOVE garlic. Do you guys eat it a lot? I just love the smell of garlic and onion cooking in butter. YUM!


  15. paubreys
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 17:37:55

    Reblogged this on Simpler Homes and commented:
    Keeping my dream of having a simple garden alive!


  16. Promenade Claire
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 03:57:49

    hi there I’ve just popped over from Smidge’s blog, lovely photos and I’m trying to work up the energy to plant my garlic this weekend, except here its grey and oh so cold, but I must get around to it !And what a lovely blog you have🙂


  17. feesbites
    Dec 06, 2012 @ 11:23:44

    Your pictures are amazing!



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