So, how did it go planting my garlic in the spring instead of the fall? I have to say . . . FAIL!
Being a person who generally follows the rules, I've always planted our garlic in the fall ('round about mid-October), snuggled it down with a good blanket of mulch for the winter, then watched the little green shoots emerge in the following early spring.
Supposedly, gardeners living in the more more southern, milder climates of our country can and do plant their garlic crop in the spring quite successfully while those of us in the northern states are told we need to plant ours in the fall. Why? I've frequently wondered about this so started this little experiment in the fall of 2019.
Per usual, after harvesting and curing that garlic crop I had planted about one year previously (in the fall), I did not replant any of the cloves for my next year's crop.
Instead I waited until the early spring of 2020 to plant that year's new garlic crop.
During the summer they grew beautifully and in the fall of that year (2020), I harvested the garlic bulbs when the plants matured and were ready to be dug and cured.
First thing I noticed was that the bulbs were perhaps a bit smaller than usual, but most were nice sized and there were plenty of them. I cured them per usual.
Again, no fall planting of the garlic because I wanted to wait and follow through on the experiment to assess their keeping quality over that winter of 2020-2021. Maybe I was on to something and really didn't have to plant the garlic in the fall.
Next thing noticed was that the garlic didn't seem quite as pungent this time around. In a couple of months, I began to suspect the bulbs weren't keeping as well even though stored in the same place under the same conditions as they've always been.
The last couple of months of this late winter and early spring of 2021, I've had to search through each bulb selected to find a couple of firm, usable cloves. Hmmm, is there a picture appearing here?
Because I was still in the midst of my little experiment last fall, as previously said, I did not plant any garlic as we gardeners in the north are told to do. (Ahem.)
This spring, I did sort through my remaining stash and picked the best looking cloves which were planted on the 5th of April.
This is how the bed looks today. I've got good germination with only a couple of no-shows so it looks as though I'll get another crop of the experimental spring-planted garlic but, frankly, I don't expect it to be any better in flavor or keeping quality than that of last year.
How many years would I have to continue my experiment with my spring planting of garlic to ascertain it really does make sense to plant it in the fall here in my northern location? Probably more than the time I've put into it.
On the other hand, I'm willing to believe there are garlic growing experts who know one heckuva lot more than I do, so I'll be purchasing a new supply of garlic from a good commercial grower in a few months and come mid-October of this year, I'll be pushing those new garlic cloves down into the soil of one of my raised garden beds, covering the bed with a deep layer of mulch, giving all a loving pat and telling the cloves that I'll see them next spring.