As I write this, there is a total of six cloves in the ground. That’s not six full bulbs. No I mean, a mere six cloves. One, two, three, four, five, six. I put them in at lunchtime, which was about six minutes ago.
The good news is that I know from experience (i.e. the experience of being late in planting garlic just about every single year save a handful in which I was actually on time or early even) that hardneck garlic (I only plant hardneck here in the North) is a tough plants that can handle it. Yes, it is always best to plant garlic about a month or more before the ground freezes so that they have lots of time to get established. That would be the right way. And around here, we only tell people how to do things the right way while we
do it all wrong experiment. In my defence, there are other bulbs such as snowdrops that are much more finicky about when they go in, and I’m not making excuses here (yes I am), but those little babies had to get in the ground first. It’s hard for me, okay! I’m pushing it to the wire here, but if I can get the garlic in speedy pronto they will be just fine. And there will be lots of beautiful, tender early cloves, delicious scapes, and plump bulbs to enjoy next year.
Speaking of which, wow was 2012 the best year for garlic or what? I’ve been growing from the same stock (planting and harvesting and replanting) for years now and I was amazed by the size and quality of the bulbs that I unearthed this past summer. Glorious, perfect, primo garlic. All of the alliums in general just loved the early spring and the hot, dry summer. It was like they had finally been given the chance to live up to their full potential. Even my elephant garlic crop, which is normally on the cusp of hardy here and not always as plump as you see it in stores, was absolutely amazing.
If you’ve procrastinated like me, I am here to tell you that there is still time. Even here in zone 5b or 6a or whatever the hell they are saying we are now. The soil is cold but it is still very workable. We haven’t even had a snowfall in Toronto yet (I bite my tongue). We can do this!