We have been closely watching the weather forecasts as garlic planting time approaches, and due to rain in the forecast for this coming Sunday and Monday, we have adjusted our planting schedule to begin this Friday, October 14 and get as much in the ground Friday and Saturday as possible.
Even though the seed garlic that I ordered this year isn’t scheduled to arrive until Monday, Wednesday was the perfect day to start preparing our seed garlic for planting. It was the perfect day not only because of the timing, but also because I had a couple of volunteers to help. My sister Jamie and cousin Abbey arrived shortly after 9:00 A.M. and since the weather was decent we decided to work outside.
Our task for the day was to divide the seed garlic bulbs into individual cloves. To do this we peel off the papery skin that binds the cloves together, but leave intact the last skin that covers each individual clove. We found in some cases that last skin would break off while we were breaking the cloves apart. Those cloves were set aside and I will try to use them in cooking before they get bad.
** Note – We have since learned that it is not necessary to keep the last layer of skin intact.
This is not a hard job, but with large quantities can be very time consuming. It is a job that proves that “many hands make light work”. We probably actually worked for about 3 1/2 hours while we chatted and drank ice tea. We also took a time out for lunch. We split about 25 lbs. of bulbs and the time seemed to fly by. When they had to leave, Abbey said she liked the work we were doing today. Although I thanked them for all their help, I’m not certain that they understand how much help they really were. To put it in perspective, this task that we accomplished in a few short hours would have taken 3 times as long or been a full days work if I was doing it on my own.
Today my husband and I will finish splitting apart the approximately 25 lbs. of garlic that we have on hand so they are ready to be planted over the next two days.
If you are following along, and have decided to grow your own garlic, unless you are growing large amounts, you probably won’t need to recruit help for this task or plan it days in advance. It should be done as close to planting time as possible.