KTOO listener Carole P. writes: “This fall is so unusually warm. When should I plant the garlic?”
Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said he’ll actually be planting garlic this weekend, even if it stays mild for the next few months. But he said anytime before the ground freezes in October is ideal.
First, he suggests seed hardneck garlic — not the typical California softneck garlic found in grocery stores — as the best type for Alaska gardens.
Gently break the garlic bulbs into individual cloves, and set aside the small cloves for cooking instead of planting.
Plant the biggest cloves in rich, well-drained soil in a sunny location. They should be planted about 2 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart with each clove’s pointy end up.
“It is a fairly heavy feeder,” Buyarski said. “Working in compost and organic fertilizer into the soil before planting really is an important item.”
Gently cover the cloves with soil and then add a layer of compost or seaweed. Adding a layer of plastic on top will prevent the soil from becoming too wet during the fall rains.
Ideally, Buyarski said garlic should not sprout in December or January. That’s too soon.
Adding mulch and then covering with spruce or hemlock boughs may provide enough ground insulation to prevent the ground from repeated freezing and thawing, and keep the garlic on schedule for sprouting in March or April.
Listen to the Sept. 28 edition of Gardentalk about garlic planting:
Listeners have also asked for links to seasonally-sensitive episodes of Gardentalk that recently aired. Click on the link to bring up the page for that particular segment.
- Air traffic controllers in Yellowknife, Canada, joined in a widespread, pizza-based act of goodwill recently as the U.S. federal employees’ unpaid payday came and went.
- Alaska’s attorney general and two of the state’s congressional lawmakers are calling on a federal appeals court to uphold the Indian Child Welfare Act. A U.S. district court judge struck the law down in October.
- A new Blood Bank of Alaska location celebrated its grand opening Thursday in Juneau. The region has been served by mobile blood donation facilities in the past, but this is the first permanent center in years.
- On Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service notified objectors of a proposed timber sale about a public meeting in Klawock. By Thursday, the meeting was canceled. But some groups are wondering why this work is happening now at all.