Planting Garlic Before the Sun Goes Down


My husband came through the door about 30 minutes earlier than usual this evening. “Quick!” he said, “Let’s plant the garlic before the sun goes down.”

I was fiddling with an image in Photoshop and the glow of my computer screen temporarily blinded me. Hadn’t the sun already gone down? But there was still time.

We raced to the barn where the garlic was drying in the rafters after we pulled it up in late July. Grabbing the best bunch of the largest heads (R had marked these so we wouldn’t eat them), we bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.


R husked the cloves, papery chaff falling across the grass like wedding confetti. He had the furrows hoed in a flash and I started tucking in cloves, six inches apart. Fingers in the dirt—an instant cure to stresses from the day—from the last week that still linger. The soil just soaked them up, thank you very much. And left my fingertips muddy and skin dry and smooth.

I was glad that we ran out of cloves and I had to run back to the porch for a few more heads. It gave me an excuse to grab the camera. All before the sun went down.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

kate Georgereply
October 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Beautiful. You are so lucky.

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm
– In reply to: kate George

Lucky to know you, Kate!!

October 23, 2012 at 2:47 am

Wonderful photos! I so often don’t remember the camera… and what a great prospect, there’s nothing like homegrown garlic.

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm
– In reply to: anjnj

So often the camera isn’t near, and then I just try to remember.

October 23, 2012 at 2:52 am

Mine were in the ground in June, I made midwinter this time, and now they are growing lots of leaves next to the shallots, and I am hoping for a good crop round Christmas. There is nothing like fresh, sticky garlic!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm
– In reply to: joslittlepictures

Oh shallots! I didn’t grow them this year. They are such a lovely addition to cooking.

October 23, 2012 at 3:59 am

Fingers in the dirt is the best cure for almost everything in life, I feel.

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm
– In reply to: sannekurz

I’m with you. It put me right last night. And I needed righting!

October 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

great photos! 🙂

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm
– In reply to: ayna

Thank you Ayna!

October 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

I love garlic i’m slowly getting my daughter to eat it great pic 🙂

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm
– In reply to: lionwomen

I love it and am slowly sneaking it into the 10 year old’s food.

October 23, 2012 at 7:38 am

I was out planting my garlic yesterday also. The overnight rain watered in the cloves. Just have to see if the local raccoon left them alone. It can’t resist the smell of kelp meal and compost!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 7:47 am
– In reply to: Erin

It seems like we’ve all been out planting garlic. My friend way way out in Manitoba put some in yesterday too! We’ve had raccoons fighting under the birdfeeder at night-right below our window :-{ But not messing in the garden. Crazy beasties! xox

October 23, 2012 at 8:07 am

I’ve never planted garlic. Can you just plant what you get at the store? And I’m assuming it needs to overwinter in the ground?

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 10:21 am
– In reply to: Twila

Store garlic can be planted, but some are sprayed with sprout inhibitors. If you get organic garlic it should sprout. Break up the heads into individual cloves. Plant with tips up about 6″ apart in rows a foot or so apart. We cover with a mulch of leaves or hay here because of the cold winter and pull of the mulch after the snow melts in the spring. The green shoots are great to see when everything else is still brown. The garlic is ready to harvest in late July. Pull it up with the stalks attached and hang it in a dry place out of the sun to dry (we tie about 10-12 stalks with twine and hang them upstairs in our barn. A garage would be good or a porch away from sunshine. Keep the biggest heads to plant in the fall and share/eat the rest!

The Siren’s Talereply
October 23, 2012 at 11:39 am

“We bee-lined down the hill to the garden, the sky darkening in strips of purple and magenta behind the tree branches, turning them from dimensional forms to flat silhouettes before our eyes.”

Every entry you write is so beautifully constructed. You paint a beautiful picture in the reader’s mind!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 23, 2012 at 11:41 am
– In reply to: The Siren's Tale

Deep thanks. It was a beautiful moment, indeed.

Barbara Bamber | justasmidgenreply
October 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Just think of what you’ll be growing.. and what an adventure to do this just as the sun is setting! I’m glad you got the chance to snap some photos for us!

October 24, 2012 at 11:33 am

I planted mine the other day(s – on Sunday and Monday) as well but I didn’t take great photos like yours!
It’s been a crummy-ish autumn here in Ontario with such little sun and now it’s setting so soon… Still, the leaf colours have been deep.
What variety did you plant?

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
October 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm
– In reply to: Dalila

Hi Dalila, Sorry to say I don’t know the variety. This is our fourth season with this type, each year saving the best heads to plant. I love the purple hues and it is intense in flavor when it is first harvested (too spicy for my daughter to like) and then mellows as it hangs to dry. It sounds like we’ve had a similar autumn to you—lost many leaves to rain and wind.

October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Well, color me surprised. I didn’t know this is how garlic grows! I wonder if I could try this in a window box?!

Nerd With Tastereply
November 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

This is such a nice story! I especially love your hand covered in dirt, and how rushed you and your husband were to plant garlic. It’s so simple. But it’s so significant to life. LOVE IT! ~

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
November 4, 2012 at 2:59 pm
– In reply to: Nerd With Taste

I just laughed out loud at your wonderful blog name!! Thank you for this kind comment. I am now terribly hungry for your homemade tootsie rolls. Wow. Must try. Be well.

November 5, 2012 at 12:51 am

I LOVE garlic. Do you guys eat it a lot? I just love the smell of garlic and onion cooking in butter. YUM!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
November 5, 2012 at 9:21 am
– In reply to: heidisarttrunk

We eat so much more garlic now that we grow it. Delicious!

November 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Reblogged this on Simpler Homes and commented:
Keeping my dream of having a simple garden alive!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
November 6, 2012 at 7:12 am
– In reply to: paubreys

Thanks for sharing this, Pam!

Promenade Clairereply
November 17, 2012 at 3:57 am

hi there I’ve just popped over from Smidge’s blog, lovely photos and I’m trying to work up the energy to plant my garlic this weekend, except here its grey and oh so cold, but I must get around to it !And what a lovely blog you have 🙂

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
November 17, 2012 at 6:48 am
– In reply to: Promenade Claire

Thanks Claire! It’s getting cold to work in the garden here too. Good luck.

December 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

Your pictures are amazing!

Sue Schlabach 129twigandvinereply
December 10, 2012 at 9:35 am
– In reply to: feesbites

Thank you! That garlic was just begging to be photographed. Sorry I am so slow in replying. I’ve been sucked into the pre-holiday vortex, I guess. Take care, Sue

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