I love garlic!
This being my first year on the homestead, I have many projects; one is to create a huge garden. My first task (after cleaning out the garden beds) is to plant garlic. It's a great flavor enhancer to most recipes, and it has tremendous health benefits, so I'm definitely planting garlic!
When is the best time to plant garlic?
Generally in the fall. Garlic is sensitive to daylight and temperature changes, and it matures during the longest days of summer. Cold weather prompts division of the clovesb. Planting in cold weather allows the roots to develop while growing the smallest shoot possible.
What’s the difference between hardneck and softneck garlic?
Hardneck garlic is able to withstand colder temperatures and climates. Some varieties of softneck garlic can be grown in colder climates. Softneck garlic has a milder flavor and is the typical variety found in grocery stores. Its milder flavor is compatible with more dishes than hardneck varieties. Hardneck varieties develop a flowering stem called a “scape.” Scapes must be cut before they blossom to allow further development of the garlic bulb, but they can be pickled or used in salads.
How to plant garlic?
Obtain garlic compatible with your gardening zone. Determine available seed varieties at local nurseries. The garlic strains found in grocery stores are typically imported and are not well suited for growing in local climates. They can also be filled with pesticides and may not even sprout.
Plant garlic cloves two to three inches deep (about a thumb’s length) in soil and 4 inches from neighboring cloves. Do not overcrowd garlic or they will compete for nutrients, limiting the yield. Cover the soil with shredded leaves, hay, or wood chips to insulate the garlic through winter.
What direction do I plant garlic?
Plant the pointy end of the clove facing up and the flat butt end facing down.
When do I harvest garlic?
When the stems begin to turn brown and fall over.
My newly inherited garden beds are teeming with worms and filled with well-drained soil. The tops have a thick blanket of mulch to limit erosion. If I planted my garlic correctly, I expect them to shoot up in the spring once the weather warms. I planted a local hardneck variety that withstands snow and cold temperatures. I look forward to using the scapes in my salads as they are considered a gardening delicacy!
Check out my vlog How to grow garlic