Time to make the donuts..no uh wait, plant the garlic

This weekend we knew the time had come since the okra got knocked down during that storm last week.  It's time to plant the garlic.  Just remember, the best time to plant, by the way, is four to six weeks before your first predicted freeze.

For us in USDA determined zone 7A, that means we plant on or about mid September because our first predicted freeze is on or about October 29th.
Keep in mind, some gardeners do plant in the Spring but I have yet to try that.  In the future I might, but for now we stick to Autumn garlic planting.

You can go the the Farmers Almanac page for a handy dandy expected frost and freeze date chart.

This year we are going with four different varieties, two of which were the ones we used last year, Chesnok red and Persian star, the other two are completely new to us.
Those two I purchased from the farmers market and Brad's Produce.  The one from Brads is one of the hardneck varieties called German White.  The other is a soft neck variety that oh my goodness, I CANNOT BELIEVE I DIDN'T WRITE DOWN THE NAME!  I will be going to the farmers market next weekend and asking what variety is this again, so I'll add it then at the bottom of the page.
Now, just like tomatoes, peppers, and squash, garlic too has different flavors, aromas and textures.  Some can be stored much longer while others, not so long.  Some are spicier, some are tangy, some do better with cooking while others do best when used raw.
German White/Hardneck Variety
When selecting the variety you would like, remember to also keep in mind what area of the world you live in.  How cold does it get during the winter? Softneck varieties tend to not do as well in colder climates, while hardneck varieties can survive pretty cold temperatures during the winter. One bonus to hardneck varieties is you can get two harvests from one plant.  In the spring time (for us this occurs about late May) we harvest the scapes from the garlic plant which is the curly cue like bit at the top.  Harvesting the scapes encourages the plant to put its energies into producing good sized bulbs and not into flowering to produce seeds.   Scapes can then be used in anything that needs a mild garlic flavor.  Think green onion or chive mixed with garlic.  We love chopped garlic scapes in our scrambled eggs!

So, onto planting time.

First and foremost, the most important step.  Get yourself a good cup of coffee, espresso or tea.  It's important to relax, take your time and enjoy a good cup of something hot on an Autumn morning or afternoon!  I enjoyed a nice Espresso blend from Sweet Marias!

Next, early on you need to break apart all your bulbs of garlic and let them sit for a bit while you prepare the soil for planting.

When planting in the soil you want the pointy part pointing towards the sky, while the blunt edge to be pointing downwards.  Plant each bulb about 1 inch or so deep and cover with soil.  You need them to be about 4 to 8 inches apart to allow them plenty of room to grow.
Then cover with a good amount of straw or hay.  At this point, your work is done.  For at least the next eight months.

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