There isn't a whole hell of a lot to be done in a garden in November but the one thing you can do is plant the garlic you should have planted a couple of weeks ago. I know that around the middle of October is technically the time to plant this cooking favourite but I'm not sure if I've ever actually accomplished this task. I plant it when I have time which tends to be the end of October or the beginning of November.
HOW AND WHEN TO PLANT GARLIC
I'm not going to go into a huge amount of detail about planting garlic (even though it's ridiculously easy) because I wrote an entire post on it here. I just wanted to remind you that if you haven't planted it and you always vow to grow your own but forget about it, GET OUT THERE AND PLANT GARLIC. It's the weekend. Now's your chance to prove that you've got it together. That you're a geterdone kindda person.
I will give you a few tips before you run out and start planting willy nilly.
- Buying "official" garlic for planting from a nursery or seed store isn't the only way to go but it's the best way to go. It will be certified disease free and guaranteed to grow well in your climate. I grow a variety of types but my two favourites are Music and Russian Red, both of which are available on Amazon. Which kind of surprised me. Russian Red is hands down the best "keeper" I've ever grown.
- You can also just go and buy garlic from a grocery store and plant it. The Internet is always warning us that planting vegetables this way is risky because they may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor that stops them from growing, but bulbs from the grocery store have always sprouted and grown just fine for me. It's a great route to take if you can't find certified garlic, plus it's also WAY cheaper.
- You can plant a LOT of bulbs in a small space so even if you don't have a dedicated vegetable garden you can still stick garlic in your regular flower beds. They grow tall and straight and make a great border or bunch that can mimic ornamental grasses.
WHY SHOULD YOU GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC?
There are 2 main reasons I grow my own garlic. The first is so I can make garlic scape pesto every summer. I am completely ruined for regular pesto because of garlic scape pesto. You can read my recipe here. Scapes are the long swirly things that grow up out of the middle of the garlic leaves a few weeks before it's ready to harvest. If left on the plant they would eventually grow a flower with tiny bulbettes. But this takes energy away from forming the bulb of garlic underneath the soil so we garlic growers pinch the scapes off once they get to a certain point. Scapes have a very short season and aren't cheap to buy if you can even manage to find them.
Honestly. Even if it's ONLY for the scape pesto you can make, that's reason enough to grow your own garlic.
HOW TO BRAID GARLIC.
The second reason you should grow your own garlic is so you can make braids. I say this as someone who used to make garlic braids, but now just throws all my heads into a net bag. But I did it for many years using this braiding method.
There are people who swear that they can tell a difference in the taste of different varieties of garlic but whenever I eat garlic I only taste garlic. However whenever I taste wine all I taste is wine. Ditto for beer. Potato chips as we all know are incredibly complex and easily identifiable and nuanced. But you really do have to spend years training to be able to tell the differences in potato chips from various regions and cooked in different fats. It's kind of an upper class thing to get into. That's why potato chip sommelier is such a popular career choice among the upper crust.
Have a good weekend!