Garlic planting takes a bit of forethought for me. I can't just run out and plant it whenever I feel like it. I treat my cloves before planting. The night before I plant, I make a baking soda and water solution, about one quart of water to one teaspoon of baking soda. I've seen ratios of a teaspoon to a gallon and a tablespoon to a quart, but I go somewhere in the middle of those extremes. I break apart the cloves and drop them in.
In the morning I peel the cloves and plop them back in for a longer bath - until I'm ready to plant. Many people cringe at this since they say the skins are protection for the cloves, but I did it last year and the garlic grew well. I only lost a couple of cloves and they were from heads that were not that great.
I like to peel them because I can see if the cloves are damaged. With the skin on you can only tell if there is major damage, but the little damage you see above I couldn't see through the skin. I weeded out three bad cloves, all from my Bogatyr. The other reason to peel is the same reason for all the soaking. The garlic has fungi and insect eggs on them, much of it on the skin. Removing it gets rid of a lot, and soaking gets rid of more.
Right before I'm ready to plant, I rinse off the cloves and do another soak. This time with vodka. I've seen sites that say 150 or 100 proof vodka, but all my vodka is 80 proof. So that is what they got. I soak for about three minutes then rinse it off. Now my cloves are ready to plant.
All these cloves are from garlic that I grew this year. I chose my biggest and best heads to plant and from those heads only the larger cloves. The small cloves I saved for cooking later. I have three varieties. German Extra Hardy makes huge cloves, but only about 5 on each head. When I peeled the cloves I couldn't help notice how huge they all were. The next biggest was my unknown variety (from the supermarket last year). It too makes huge cloves, but the skin is slightly red where the XHardy is white. I really need to name this variety. I hate having something unnamed in my garden. The last is Bogatyr. It has much smaller cloves with a bit of purple skin. I thought about ditching this variety, but the cloves were tiny when I got them last year. This year they are bigger. I'm hoping with good conditions they can get even larger. After one more year I'll pick the best two varieties to keep.
I decided to plant them where I recently double dug the potato patch. I added some lime, compost and fertilizer. Then laid out a planting grid. I wanted my garlic 6" apart in all directions on a triangular grid. Once the grid was done I just set them in 4" deep and gave them a couple of inches of compost mulch.
Not everything went perfectly. I found another potato. I really hope they are all up. I can't dig this spot up anymore without distrubing the garlic. After double digging the bed was too high for the soil and extra mulch. I had to add a bigger log to the top. My beds keep getting deeper.