Folks at the local garden center in Osage City know that garlic is typically planted in the fall, but they don’t stock garlic-for-growing in autumn because most people in Kansas plant it in the spring. Undeterred by that bit of news, Kate decided it was time to try a few different varieties of garlic next year, and so she spent way too much time on the Nichols Garden Nursery website and ordered too many different garlic varieties to count. The box of garlic has been around for a while … I finally got some of it planted on Thanksgiving Day.
My first task was to till up part of the garden for the garlic. I chose to turn the ground that had been lettuce, spinach and peas earlier this year. The soil was already pretty mellow, but I wanted to turn the chicken-scratched straw into the top few inches. Since I was working a relatively small part of the garden, I used our trusty old BCS tiller. This 8-horsepower Kohler-powered machine is as heavy-duty as they get. It has an all-gear transmission and automotive-type dry clutch. Kate thinks it is hard to start … I will tweak the carburetor some day.
After the tillage, I used a little four-tine hand cultivating tool to create shallow furrows … my lines are only relatively straight. I next placed individual garlic cloves pointy side up in the bottom of the furrows. After I had four rows of garlic cloves placed, I gently pulled and pushed soil into the furrows until the garlic was covered. By then, another daughter and her husband had arrived for the holiday, and it was time to take a tour of the farm and have some fun.
I hope that November 27 is the right time for garlic planting in Kansas. It was about 45 degrees and the soil was still warm. I guess we’ll know come spring whether this effort was worth it.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.