No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.~ Thomas Jefferson
Early Planting for an Early Harvest
I love garlic, but have never tried to grow it before. In my research, I learned that onions, garlic and shallots all have very long growing seasons. By planting them in mid-late fall, you get a real boost on the crop and are in a position to harvest bigger bulbs earlier come late spring/early summer. I ordered organic bulbs of all three crops and went to work planting them in our garden. Simply dig two-inch deep trenches about six inches apart and then plop the bulbs in roughly four-five inches apart from each other and loosely cover with dirt. For the onions and shallots it’s important to leave the pointy tip sticking out of the dirt slightly so they get direct sunlight.
Cold Hardy Sprouts
About two weeks after planting the crops I noticed that green sprouts were already shooting up through the soil. At first, I thought, ” Oh no! What have I done wrong? These aren’t supposed to grow until spring!” I frantically scoured search engines for advice and reassurance.
Luckily, after connecting with garlic growers more seasoned than ourselves, I learned that this early growth is fairly typical. The green tops of the garlic, onions and shallots are very cold hardy, so they can sprout in fall and then survive through the winter while their bulbs underneath the soil remain protected by the mulch. Once the warmer temperatures roll in the crops will come out of dormancy with a head start.
We will add more mulch around our crops before the winter fully arrives, and we may cover the crops as well if the temperatures drop closer to 0ºF. Come spring, we will add a little fertilizer and hope they are ready by June! It’ll be nice to have things ready for harvest when much of the other crops are just kicking off.