Green Thumbs: Rise and Shine of the Garlic

By Laura Zgud, Photos by Zgud Photography, for the Pemberton Creek Community Garden

Yes! It’s finally here, time to prepare the soil, get into the garden and get that great feeling of immersing your hands into the earth!

The Garlic is up and you can see the popularity of it in the Community Garden as almost everyone’s plot has at least a couple if not a whole section dedicated to the heart healthy, cancer fighting, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal bulb.

The difference between “Chinese” Garlic and eating your own Organic Garlic is one that once you try it you never want to go back! On top of that, growing your own will save you lots of money as Local Organic Garlic holds it’s value often at $3-$5/bulb.  Planting your own is not only economical and healthy but it’s an easy one too!

Most cloves go in the soil in the fall, with a little bone meal is best – about 3-4 inches deep covering with soil then mulching on top with your choice of Straw or autumn leaves.

In 2011 I went the Straw route and made the mistake in Spring of taking off all the Straw which was an unnecessary move as the weeds proceeded to grow at an alarming rate between all of my beloved Garlics. Learn from my mistake, which created a mass amount of weeding required throughout the summer. This year I opted for gathering the autumn leaves and am leaving them on all summer as the Garlics have no trouble at all growing up through the leaves and this will keep the pesky weeds down. (I hope!)

What’s next for everyone’s Garlic? I picked the expert garden brain of Jesse Fromowitz for maximizing your crop. Fertilize next when Garlic is about a foot high with an organic high in Nitrogen source, Alfalfa Meal and Liquid Seaweed, are two options he suggested.

For the rest of your Garden space: First prepare & turn the soil, add in your composted Compost, Lime, composted Manure, Worm Castings or Sea Soil and/or any of your other choices of Organic matter then it’s time for Kale, Spinach, Lettuce and Potatoes to get their start outside. For all your warmer weather seedlings, have them sprouting away in the warmth of the community greenhouse or your home’s window ledge. Waiting warmer days soon to come.

The Community Garden is in high demand with an ever-growing (how appropriate!) wait list for 2013. We welcome everyone that is interested in a plot and current members to come out for the Garden Fundraiser Event happening Tuesday April 9th from 5-8pm at Mile One Café! Meet other Gardeners, Eat, Buy Raffle Tickets, Renew Your Plot, Get on the Wait List, and sign up for the first Volunteer time of the season happening on Earth Day, Monday April 22nd from 3:30-7:00pm where we will join forces to clean up all the common areas of the garden including the Green House & Garden Shed, get out the hoses, re-instate the sunflower garden numbers and anything else that needs to be done in a team effort.

The deadline to Renew your Plot is April 30th, so we can get un-renewed plots assigned to eager waitlist gardeners! The deadline to have your garden planted is May 30th at which point un-planted gardens will have their Renewal re-reimbursed and the Plot will go to an eager waitlist gardener.

We look forward to seeing a great turn out at Mile One, spread the word and go get your hands dirty! It’s spring!

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