For sure, my garden needs a transformation from all the neglect! I need to make beds to plant with garlic and shallots, and by the looks of the mess, it will be a sore chore.
First, till and remove all the grass, weeds and their roots... Luckily I was able to hire a helper.
Next, apply some amendments. The blue-green stuff is Greensand, a trace mineral supplement. Minerals help with bulb formation, necessary to grow decent size heads of garlic and shallots.
I ran string lines for rows 36" wide with 12" pathways between them, and then piled all the dirt from the paths onto the rows.
First bed, ready to plant. The rest soon followed and I have 3 lovely rows of fluffy soil which I hope will drain well even if the creek floods (which it does, but usually not up that far).
Next, lay out the garlic clove rows, 6" apart. They will get buried about 4" deep, with the tip planted UP.
After planting, the garlic rows get a covering of around 3 inches of straw. If our Fall is mild, the garlic will put up green shoots in several weeks. That growth spurt helps put down roots, and the green tops will die down for winter. In spring the tops will begin to grow again and the roots will make a new garlic bulb.
On to shallot layout. Planting shallots is a little different than planting garlic. When shallots grow, they form a cluster or clump around the shallot planted, rather than forming cloves the way garlic does. I plant shallots at least 8" apart in rows that are about a foot apart.
The shallots must be planted with the top of the neck just peeking above the soil. This keeps rain (even in the form of snow) from seeping into the shallot and rotting it. In some colder areas, shallots not hardy enough to plant in the fall. It's always "try it and see" for me in my zone; if the winter is exceedingly cold, these may not survive, especially being planted so close to the surface. Shallots generally do not get a mulch cover either, as this can encourage bulb rot. I do mulch if a cold winter has set in, but not until around Christmas. I also remove the mulch at the first signs of warming in the new year.
The garlic and shallots should be watered well after planting, and not watered again until quite dry. Usually I water 2-3 times before Thanksgiving, depending on the weather. Right now it has been very dry so it may take more watering. They need about an inch of water a week.
In the spring before bulb formation begins, I will side-dress the garlic and shallots again with trace minerals and well-composted manure. Voila! Garlic and shallots coming to my table soon!!