As you can probably tell from my lack of posting yesterday, the garden is slowing down. As time goes on I'll have less and less to talk about - well until those seed catalogs arrive. Today I actually had something to do for the garden. It is garlic planting time. Now tomorrow I'll do the planting, but today I was preparing the garlic.
In past years, garlic hasn't done well. I just take the cloves apart and put them in the ground. But the internet is a wonderful thing - either that or it is a great way to waste time. So I researched. Some people tell you to peel your garlic to get rid of all the insect eggs and diseases lurking. Some people say to not remove the skin. In the past I haven't removed the skin, so this time I'm going to try. The skin peeled easily off of three varieties and not from one. So that one stays for now since I don't want to damage the cloves.
Two varieties, German Extra Hardy and Georgian Crystal, were from Seed Savers Exchange. They seemed like very healthy large cloves of garlic. One variety is from Nichols, Bogatyr. These cloves were much smaller (could be the garlic variety or could be quality), and one of them was diseased, so I tossed it. In fact I had to throw a lot of these cloves out since they were either tiny or damaged. The last variety is an unknown. It is a garlic I bought at the store and loved. It is the only softneck garlic that I'm going to plant. All the others are hardnecks.
Then I read that I should soak the cloves in either vinegar or baking soda overnight. Now vinegar is an acid and baking soda is an alkaline. They both are good for killing fungal diseases (but not together mind you since they would neutralize each other). Baking soda seems to be the most commonly recommended one, so I'll go with that tonight. Often people also recommend adding either fish or seaweed emulsion to the soaking water, but I don't have either, so it just isn't going to happen.
Tomorrow morning I'll do a 3-5 minute soak in vodka then plant them. I'm guessing it kills diseases, but I'm also guessing the garlic doesn't like it much since you're not supposed to leave them in there very long.
So there you have it. I've stripped my garlic naked. Tomorrow I'm going to get them drunk and put them to bed. Who says gardeners don't have fun?