Keep Calm and Carry Garlic

Well dear Readers, having talked about our zombie defense prep, we now turn our attention to growing an effective vampire deterrent. You can never be too careful when you’re living out in the wilds of Northland, you know.

All this to say, I planted garlic last week. It was locally grown organic stuff I found when we visited the Grower’s Market with Mama and Papa. The cloves were lovely — all plump and crisp, and pink-tinged, just as good New Zealand grown garlic should be. Some we used up in dhal and soup, but I held back a couple of bulbs to plant out.

Here comes the garlic. Snail repellant.

Garlic popping up. I added snail repellant to be on the safe side, although I don’t think snails like garlic.

You don’t need to buy special garlic for planting, supermarket garlic is fine, as long as it’s the NZ grown stuff. That far-too-cheap-and-that-alone-should-make-you-suspicious Chinese garlic apparently doesn’t grow well, and has a reputation for spreading viral disease.

Having purchased your garlic, gently break each bulb into individual cloves, and plant the fattest ones pointy end up under 2.5cm soil. My favorite gardening guru Jonathan Spade cautions not to push them into the soil as it can damage the heel of the bulb and delay root development. Plant now (traditionally on the shortest day) and harvest on the longest. Next year of course you’ll save a few of your own cloves to plant out.

View of veggie garden

Veggie garden from the back deck. Garlic bed is out of shot top left beyond the strawberry plants

We have trouble growing enough garlic to keep up with our needs. I planted 22 cloves this time, but I suspect we’ll have run out before the year is up. Then our vampire control arsenal will be down to silver bullets and crucifixes. Just as well Forbearing Husband bought the reloading press last year (and I really never thought I’d be saying that, even in jest!).



    • I chose the bigger ones as per Jonathan Spade’s instructions. Will be interesting to see how big the bulbs turn out. I imagine there are quite a few other variables as well. My garlic shoots are just too darling at the moment to even consider eating, although looks like scapes are actually the flower stems, the article isn’t very clear on that.

      Ah yes, just checked elsewhere and scapes are the flowers and flower stems. Does one want them to flower though if you are to harvest the bulb?

      Reader number 9. 🙂

  1. Yes, I think you usually cut the flowers off. But instead of composting them you eat them!

  2. Hey Hun,do you know anyone in the South Island?
    Garlic from there,I have found to be far superior and Hardy
    Grows and multiplies extremely well.
    As far south as Arrow Town is best.

  3. Good to know. But my N Island garlic appear to be rising to the challenge too! Lovely crisp cool sunny weather to greet them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *