Sunday, November 7, 2010

Inchelium Red Garlic

Mid-October is the recommended date for planting garlic in my region.  A sequential attack of strep throat, travel for work, and laziness derailed my plan to have my garlic planted at that time.  Now it's three weeks later and early November, but I planted it anyway.  I chose Inchelium Red, a softneck variety, because I've had great success with it in past years.  I know I essentially put all my eggs in one basket by only planting a single variety, but I certainly made up for it with numbers.  I ordered (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) 16 ounces of this type of garlic this summer and 6 huge bulbs arrived in September.  Today I separated the bulbs into individual cloves (50 total) for planting.  Turns out I only planted 48 cloves because one was soft and mushy and I happened to step on the other.  Oops.  Before planting I dug the 4' x 8' bed with my pitchfork, added a dusting of lime, bone meal, and organic bulb fertilizer (not sure why I added the bulb fertilizer), and mixed everything well.  I then raked the soil flat and marked planting rows by gently pressing PVC pipe into the soil.  Once my rows were established, I placed the bulbs at 6" intervals.

Four rows of Inchelium Red garlic at 6" spacing.  I left some open room in the bed (top of picture) to plant some early spring crops.  Not sure what.  Maybe radishes or lettuce.  I'll have to research what grows well with garlic.  The garlic also grows tall and will shade that area for a few hours each day.
Worm's eye view of garlic cloves before planting.

I used my thumb to make 2" deep holes for each clove and placed them upright in each hole.  Then I smoothed soil over each hole, added a very thin layer of compost, and watered the bed very well.  Hopefully the cloves still have time to establish some good roots before it gets too cold.  I'll likely mulch the bed with wheat straw before winter and add additional mulch in late spring to retain moisture and keep the soil cool during May and June before mid-summer harvest.  I'll try and take pictures when they pop their heads out of the bed and start growing their green tops.


Veggie PAK said...

Is that type of garlic a good one to plant here in Tidewater? I like garlic, but I don't know the difference between any of the types.

The worm's eye view is a good pic. Good luck with your garlic!

.09 Acres said...

Inchelium Red is a variety I've had success with over the past 3 years. I've grown it in Williamsburg, VA as well as Newport News. I also grew French Silverskin one year. It did okay, but in general had smaller bulbs and cloves. As for flavor, I don't know my garlic well enough to be a flavor snob, but Inchelium Red has a great garlicy flavor and is a good all-purpose garlic. You should give it a try!