It’s November and for some people here in Israel that means planting winter vegetables.
Meanwhile. for a lot of other people reading this blog, such as yourself, that means wishing you could plant winter vegetaibles, however you don’t currently have time/money/space/soil/seeds/know-how or all of the above.
So let me share the good news. If you are reading this, you are about to plant some garlic!
G-d willing, you are going to watch them sprout and grow lushly all through the winter until the big moment arrives in late spring, when you will pluck your fully formed garlic heads out of the soil and dance around for joy!
If it’s coming as a suprise that you are about to plant garlic, let me explain five reasons why you are about to undertake this fateful act:
1. Garlic is so easy to grow
In my winter garden, the garlic is always king. Even when other vegies look launguid and depressed in my less-than-ideal city farm setting, garlic sprouts so quickly and grows so lushly with almost no help from me.
2. Garlic requires very little space
I am growing 50+ heads under 0.5 square meters. If you have no space or yard, you can “just” grow 6 garlics in a pot or even a bag,
3. Garlic doesn’t get infested
Unlike other popular winter vegies, like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflour and cabbage.
4. You eat lots of garlic and so does your family
Unlike the other popular winter vegies, like radish, kolrabi, beets, and turnips.
5. You don’t need to buy seeds since you already own some
Garlic plants are grown from garlic. I assume you have garlic in the kitchen right now.
You do, right?
So let’s do this!
5 Steps to Plant your Homegrown Crop of Garlic
- Take a head of garlic and divide it into cloves, leaving the papery white skin intact
- Preprare some soil. If you don’t already have good vegetable bed with decent, workable soil, it’s better to use a bucket or pot or even a big bag. You can fill it with a new bag of good potting soil or reuse old soil, broken up and ideally enriched with organic fertilizer. Note: this might be the point where you, like most people, get stuck, because you want to use the “right” soil, which you might not currently have lying around. However, just do it. Even poor soil can be enriched later. Meanwhile, your job is just to fill a receptacle with whatever loose soil is available.
- Plant the garlic cloves just below the soil surface with the pointy side up, Space them about 15cm apart.
- Position your garlic plantation in the sunniest spot available.
- Water well, and keep watering every day. Unless it’s raining. In which case, let Hashem take care of the watering.
Great. So your garlic is in the ground. Mazal tov!
Like an industrious good urban farmer, you can go put your feet up and relax after a hard day working the land. Your garlic plants should sprout within the week. That’s an exciting moment.
Some tips for ongoing care of your crop.
- Every month or so, enrich the soil with any organic fertilizer you can get, eg. compost, humus, liquid organic fertilizer, or, if you’re the type, the droppings of your neighbor’s pet bunny.
- Your garlics will grow leaves all winter. They taste delish. When the weather starts to warm up in the spring, the bulbs begin to swell. Loosen the sool around them a bit then.
- In late spring, the lush green tops will start to turn brown and die back. That’s a sign they’re nearing ripeness. They will be ready for picking some time before Shavuos.
Are you Growing Garlic with Us?
Let’s make a gallery of urban garlic growers here in Israel.
Together we will grow garlic! And I happen to think that’s a beautiful, rewarding thing to do!
My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my families own food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life.