Time to Plant the Garlic!

I have this habit of thinking of a great idea, planning to make the idea reality, then tucking the plan away in the depths of my brain for safe keeping.  And forgetting about it.

I do not know what made me think of my garlic plan this morning, but when the thought crossed my mind, I was disappointed that I had surely missed the opportunity to plant the garlic.  But a quick search on “growing garlic in pa” yielded a very informative and comforting article from the Penn State Extension.  I haven’t missed the planting boat – mid October is the perfect time to plant!

Garlic is one of those vegetable plants that is planted in the fall, and being a bulb, that does make sense to a flower gardener.  It goes against the grain for a vegetable gardener.  But garlic must have a chance to start developing, then must sit and think about itself under cover of a blanket of snow, only to emerge in the spring with the other lovely flowering bulbs.

My western PA locale is absolutely perfect for growing garlic.

The Penn State Extension cautions against using garlic bulbs found in the supermarket, as these varieties are usually grown in California and don’t do well here in PA.  This summer, I visited a number of local vegetable stands and purchased a few heads of garlic.  I plan to use one of these heads in the new border garden I dug this summer.

In order to let the bulbs develop, the flowers must be cut back so that all the energy of the plant goes to the bulb rather than the flower.  If I let every second plant bloom, and cut back the others, I’m hoping I can enjoy some tall flowers amongst the garlic that will be eaten!

allium among the ferns
allium among the ferns – at Longwood Gardens

Garlic can bloom in white, purple, pink.  I wonder what color MY garlic blooms will be?

Reality Post Script

I mentioned my garlic plan to my hairdresser / fellow gardener / killjoy last week, and she informs me that garlic is not all that when it blooms.  Perhaps my dreams of beautiful purple flowers won’t become reality, but I’m still determined to try.  I’m thinking of growing some alliums close to the garlic, just so I’m not completely disappointed.  

But hey, one gardener’s garlic bloom may be another’s rose.  Who knows!

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