One of the students’ favorite fall-time activities on the Rural Studio Farm is planting garlic.
It is important not to plant the garlic too early, as this makes it more vulnerable to disease and damage from rodents, and not too late either, or else the roots won’t have time to establish themselves before winter. Here in Newbern, the farm team plants our garlic in mid-November. Fall-planted garlic has larger yields than spring-planted garlic.
First, the students split each individual clove of garlic from the heads that were saved from our own garlic harvest back in June. It is important to not bruise the cloves from rough handling and to keep as much of the papery outer coating intact as possible, as it protects the cloves from rotting. Then, all the cloves are placed out in their proper spacing (six inches) before burying them under about one to two inches of soil.
Finally, the students mulched over the top of the newly planted cloves with several inches of hay. The new garlic shoots will push their way through the mulch while weeds are suppressed and moisture is preserved.