The second year after planting a new garlic crop from purchased garlic bulbs is easier than the first; one can transplant garlic that has escaped harvest.
Heck, lots of garlic bulbs escaped harvest this past summer; chicken-shed building took over the agenda and I never did get around to digging at least two rows of Shantung and Monaro Purple garlic.
Luckily for me, Mother Nature was back-stopping my gardening failures and these full bulbs have sprung back to life and popped up with perfect timing. I gave the rows a good soaking then lifted these clumps of garlic with the shovel. As soon as they come out and the surplus soil has been gently brushed off they go into a tub of rainwater laced with Seasol, a seaweed solution that lacks nitrogen and phosphorous but helps the bulbs survive the transplant shock (or so I’m told by my friendly garlic expert mate).
Transplanted garlic is planted in the same way as onion seedlings; the individual plants are gently pulled apart to separate their root systems. They are then laid one-and-a-half bulb diameters apart up against the wall of pre-hoed trenches. The loose trench walls are pushed back over the roots and bulbs to cover them then patted down. It doesn’t matter that the garlic plants are now lying somewhat sideways; they will straighten up as they chase the light.
I like garlic – its easy to grow and is easily our most valuable crop by weight; the price of garlic rises at certain times of the year to as much as $40 per kilogram. Its quick to plant, stores well and makes the cook happy when there’s a good stock of it up at the kitchen. Several hundred bulbs have been planted out in a single morning. These will be ready for harvesting mid-summer (around Christmas time in southern Australia).
Best of all, one need not keep buying or holding back harvested garlic bulbs; just leave some of the crop in the soil for transplanting the following year. Quick and cheap!