As September unfolds I find there is much to do in the garden such as preparing for next year’s garlic harvest. In the past I planted garlic in a spot next to the front walk (north facing side of the house) but noticed last season that the site remains in shade most of the winter. This year I’ve chosen a location in the backyard (south facing) which is in shade until the leaves drop later this fall. After that the sun should sparkle on the spot until early May 2018.

Garlic bulbs

Garlic can be ordered from online providers in a multitude of varieties, if the gardener remembers to order during the summer. Most sites I found were sold out in early September. I enlisted my wife’s help to call and check with local garden shops to find garlic for our experiment. She found a source, Logan’s, a popular Raleigh garden shop. From their bountiful supply we chose these five luscious bulbs labeled California Softneck, Garlic Allium Jumbo size. These beauties are on the workbench in the shop until we plant, and the aroma is strong enough that I smell garlic instead of motor oil or mineral spirits when I stroll through.

Plastic bin

For this season I plan to grow the garlic in a container and chose this dark blue unit from the collection in the shop attic. It holds eight cubic feet (2.92’ long x 1.58’ high x 1.75’ wide) and will rest on ceramic tiles.

Shovel and soil

I disturbed the soil enough to run a screed board to level the site so the tiles do not rock. We used to plant directly in this spot but the mature maples in the area do not play fair and choked other plants. Container gardening has proven to be a workable solution.

Level

Non-gardeners may view gardeners as being a half bubble off plumb but we know that is not true.

Level bubble

Here is photographic evidence that gardeners are on the level.

Drilling holes in plastic bin

The container must have drain holes and rather than add them to the bottom of the container I installed 3/8” holes about every six inches around the base at a spot one inch up the sides. My hope is the maple roots will either not find the opening or I will be able to see the invaders and remove them.

Bin of dirt

The container is filled with a mixture of compost, decaying straw and soil.

We will do two plantings to (hopefully) extend the harvest. The first batch will go in around October first with the second to follow October 20th. I have reminders set in Goggle Calendar to prompt me with a timely email.

If you’re interested in learning more about growing garlic consult your county agricultural extension office to see what types of garlic are recommended for your area. The link points to a great garlic resource for the serious garlic gardener.

Can you grow your own garlic? You will never know until you try.