Today, as I was up to my elbows in old hay and manure, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with the joy of this life.
Is there heartache? Pain? Suffering? Of course.
But there is also rich blessings.
To me, on this day, the joy and blessing was right here. Tucked inside this little garlic clove:
Sure, it may seem like a smell blessing. But to my heart, it's huge. I don't really know what it is… but something inside of me so desperately longs to be close to Creation. His Creation. I suppose that the Lord has revealed himself in such an incredible way that getting to be up close with His handiwork is like getting to study the works of a great Master and Artist. I'm continually amazed at the format and function of creation – it's beautiful.
Beautiful is a grievous understatement.
It's beautiful to plant garlic bulbs that will root out in the cold. It's beautiful to cover them with manure and hay, recycling the waste of one animal to the benefit of my soil. Microbes break it all down, turning that waste into fertilizer. The garlic feeds on that wonderful fertilizer and grows healthier and stronger than if it was left on it's own. Isn't that incredible?
I love the circle of life that continually plays itself out in nature and how the Lord has designed it function. It never ceases to amaze me.
But my amazement of creation is not the point of this post. As usual, I find my fingers typing down a rabbit trail, failing to address the core issue at hand: planting the garlic.
Yes, it's that time. In fact, it's still time for planting a few things! Even in our Zone 6 (we're in North Central Washington). I've been putting forth minimal effort on our fall garden this year and already have lettuce, kale, collards, beets, arugula, and spinach to show for it. Part of the fall garden also includes planting garlic and shallot bulbs for harvest next summer. Hence, the reason for the post. (Yes, finally, we're getting to the point).
If you've never planted garlic before, you're in for a treat. It's super simple, super easy, and super rewarding. And that's a lot of super reasons to plant it.
This year, I wanted a specific variety that wasn't available at my market or grocers – I wanted Organic Music Garlic. ‘Music' is a hardneck variety, meaning that it has a thick stem running down the middle of it (the alternative, of course, being softneck varieties that simply grow smaller and smaller cloves towards the inside the bulb). See this?:
That's the hardneck that's left after planting the cloves.
Music is known for storing wonderfully well (and just look at this giant, beautiful cloves!), and since my goal was to grow enough garlic for us for the year, I decided that a good storage variety is exactly what I'd need.
But for the sake of keeping things simple, just go to the Farmers Market and find you some high-quality, organic garlic. That'll do just fine.
To plant the garlic, simply break the head into single cloves. Take care to leave the paper on the cloves. This will help protect it from molding in the ground.
Plant each clove about an inch deep in healthy, fertile soil.
Cover with dirt. Gently mulch over the top of the bulbs.
A few days after planting, walk back over to where the garlic was planted and check it out. Do you see any cloves that have ‘purged' themselves up from the soil? Don't worry. That happens. Just gently shove them back down. A few days later, follow up again to make sure that everyone is staying put underground. Those garlic cloves can be little stinkers sometimes.
After planting, all one must do is sit back and await the luxurious bulbs that will develop throughout the next spring. How easy is that!
On top of the two pounds of garlic that I planted, I also planted three pounds of French Shallots. I am desperately in love with the richness of shallots. Seriously. In. Love. And because planting shallots is no harder than planting the garlic cloves, I was happy to fill up three 24-foot rows with the suckers.
By the way, you can be totally impressed with how “straight” my lines are. Just keepin' it real, man.
The toughest task with garlic and shallots is taking care that they don't stay too wet all the time. Moisture is good, but too much dampness can lead to them rotting in the ground. Don't plant them in a low spot in the garden or anywhere that water tends to puddle over the winter. They no likey that.
The last item to plant in the garden this year will be the Jerusalem artichokes, due to arrive in the mail in a few weeks. They, much like the garlic and shallots, need the cold of winter to sprout in the spring. If you haven't ordered yet, you better! It's time! You can find seed HERE.
By the way, this has nothing to do with anything, but I just thought you should know. WE GOT OUR VERY FIRST EGG! From a hen that I was 100% convinced was a rooster.
See what I'm saying?