Grow Garlic in Your Garden

If you are a garlic lover then plant it in your garden, because garlic is an easy plant to grow if you have well drained soil. If your planting conditions are good, your only serious worry is the bulbs being eaten by moles or gophers.

Garlic needs well drained soil because it is subject to fungal attacks from the ground being too damp.

When ready to plant garlic, be sure you have chosen firm, plump bulbs to plant. Try to avoid planting any bulbs that are soft, shriveled or discolored. You can purchase your bulbs at grocery stores, a nursery, catalogs, or on-line.

Garlic can be planted in the fall in warmer regions (zone 6 and higher) and even some cooler regions if planted properly. Garlic needs a cool period underground in order to develop, so plant four to six weeks before the ground freezes.

Cover the ground with a heavy mulch to protect it from extreme cold temperatures. You can also plant garlic in the spring, but its bulbs will not be as large as those planted in the fall.

Garlic should be planted in a sunny area in soil that has been prepared with organic matter such as compost and aged manure.

The recommended way to plant the separated garlic cloves, is to leave the inner skins intact and plant with the root side down and pointed end up. Although I have planted garlic in the reverse and it always seemed to figure out which way was up.

Whether in mounds or furrows, garlic should be planted one to two inches deep in hardiness zones (five to 10) and two to four inches deep in colder ones. The cloves should be set four to five inches apart and rows or mounds 10 inches apart.

Garlic is a nice green accent to add between your flowers as its stalks can grow up to two and one-half feet tall. Some varieties of garlic even produce flowers in late spring.

Spring is also the time to add fertilizer.

A good balanced 10-10-10- or 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer works the best.

Weeds are one thing that can inhibit your garlic crop. Keep them down so they do not take all the nutrients away from the garlic. Mulching can help in this area.

Summer arrives and the green stalks of the garlic start to wither and turn brown. When the stalks fall, it is time to harvest your garlic. Dig the garlic with a garden fork or shovel. Leave the dried stalks attached in case you would want to braid your garlic.

Brush excess dirt from the garlic and remove any bad or rotten foliage. Garlic needs to dry, so find a place with good air circulation out of the sunlight. I dry mine in my basement on a table. To store garlic, it can be braided and hung in a dry place or be placed in baskets or plastic or cloth mess bags. Make sure the garlic is not exposed to any dampness.


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