We planted our garlic today: 500 cloves from this year's July harvest. Every year my Dad prepares the garden for the annual planting. He discs up a new plot roughly 4 feet by 50 feet. This fall he spent extra time discing, which helped a lot. The soil was soft and easy to hoe. Thanks Dad.
This year we also had extra hands to help. I, along with my sister, brother, niece and her husband, and nephew are visiting our parents this weekend. Everyone pitched in starting with breaking up the garlic bulbs into individual cloves. Usually each bulb contains 5-6 cloves. This year nearly every bulb had only 4 garlic cloves, but each was very large.
Our planting scheme is the same every year: five rows 50 feet long and spaced 9 inches apart. Within the row we plant the garlic 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart, resulting in 100 cloves of garlic per row.
Dad also picked up the two straw bales from a local farmer that we placed over the garlic patch, after covering each row with about two inches of soil.
This crop is now put to bed. From now until July it takes care of itself. The straws holds down weeds and keeps in moisture. We let Mother Nature take care of the watering. And we have the remainder of our 2014 crop--the remaining 300+ bulbs--for daily cooking until the 2015 crop is pulled. There is a dry spell from May-July when the garlic bulbs have begun to dry out and the new crop is not ready.