Home Garden How to Grow Garlic in your Garden?

How to Grow Garlic in your Garden?


How to Grow Garlic in your Garden?

How To Grow Garlic In Your Garden?

Growing Garlic in your Garden

If you’d like to grow garlic, you’ll be happy to learn that it is very easy to do. A member of the allium family, garlic is related to onions, leeks, and shallots and is grown from individual cloves. It is used in many recipes to enhance flavor and is reputed to reduce high blood pressure, as well as provide other health benefits. Legend has it that a necklace of garlic will ward off vampires.

Garlic leaves grow above ground but the actual bulb of garlic remains under the soil while growing. It grows well in most climates during warm weather and can easily be grown in containers all year round. There are numerous garlic varieties, the most popular of which is commonly called  “elephant garlic” because the bulb is several times larger than smaller varieties.

To grow garlic, you will need individual cloves of garlic — sections of the bulb. Each of the cloves will grow one garlic plant and develop one single bulb. Each bulb will contain multiple cloves, often as many as 15 to 20. If planting outdoors, select a location that gets lots of sun and the soil is well-drained.

Read More: How to Grow Garlic Indoors?

Plant garlic cloves approximately one inch below the soil. Be sure to space the cloves about four inches apart to allow plenty of growing space. If you choose to plant rows of garlic, each row should be about 1-1/2 feet apart.

Traditionally, garlic is planted on the shortest day of the year which is the winter solstice. Planting later in the spring can produce bulbs that are smaller. There are lots of sources that recommend other times to plant garlic but many gardeners will tell you that the winter solstice is the best day to get your garlic growing well.

To determine when to harvest garlic, you simply wait for the leaves of the plant to turn brown and die. This indicates the bulbs are their maximum size but have not begun to split. Simply dig up the mature bulbs of garlic, discarding the top of the plant into your organic compost bin or your lawn debris.

After harvesting, garlic must dry to prevent rot. This process is as important as the process of growing garlic. Tie the bulbs together with string and hang them in a dry, cool location for about one week. Then the bulbs can be taken down and any dirt brushed off. Do not wash your dried garlic until you are ready to use it in a recipe.

How to Plant Garlic and the Easy Way to Harvesting

Follow this step-by-step guide that takes you through the growing process from plant clove to the bulb.

For gardeners who enjoy eating the “stinking rose” as well as garlic scapes (flower buds), there’s nothing quite like planting your own cloves of garlic. Furthermore, some of us avid connoisseurs enjoy experimenting with purchasing different varieties of garlic and seeing which types do best in our hardiness zones, soil type, and microclimate growing conditions.

What garlic varieties, you ask? We’ve discovered the best types of garlic bulbs for our sandy loam, well-composted soil are ‘Music’ and ‘Red Russian’. And yes, we always save the best, chubbiest bulbs we’ve grown for next year’s planting. It’s tough to do, but worthwhile!

Here are our 10 ten best tips for planting and harvesting garlic.

1. Cracking Bbulbs into Clove

Cracking Bulbs Into Cloves

Several cloves cluster together to form the garlic bulb. Cloves must be “cracked” (separated) from the bulb because you plant individual cloves, not the entire bulb. Important: don’t remove each clove’s protective, papery casing. Leave it on and intact. Note: Each clove has a pointed tip and a “foot” (flattened, circular, hard root end). Plant the chubbiest, best cloves (no blemishes, no mildew) “foot down.”

2. Preparing the Bed for Planting

Preparing The Bed For Planting

Weed the beds and level soil with a rake or a hoe. Use a bulb planter (readily available in nurseries and hardware stores) to make holes for each clove. You’ll be planting cloves 10 cm deep in sandy loam, about 15 to 20 cm apart.

Read More: How to Grow Garlic Indoors?

3. Planting the Clove

Planting The Clove
Planting the Clove

Cloves must be “foot” down, tip (pointed part) up. Ensure tips are buried 5 cm or more below the soil surface so they don’t freeze. Plant in late October or early November so roots can establish themselves before the ground is frozen. (Timing may vary depending on your latitude/growing conditions.)

4. Mulch the Bed Before Winter

Mulch The Bed Before Winter
Mulch the bed before winter

Mulch your garden bed to a depth of 4 to 10 cm using deciduous leaves or straw.

5. Watch for Garlic Shoots in Early Spring

Watch For Garlic Shoots In Early Spring
Watch for Garlic Shoots in Early Spring

The first shoots will appear in the spring. By this time, the mulch may be nicely composted down. Re-mulch with straw (never seedy hay) or leaves if you wish to reduce weeding.

6. Maintain a Healthy Garlic Bed Through Late May

Maintain A Healthy Garlic Bed Through Late May
Maintain a healthy garlic bed through late May

Keep your bed weeded. Garlic doesn’t require much irrigation but it mustn’t dry out.

7. Scapes will Appear in Early July

Scapes Will Appear In Early July

Yum! Scapes are the garlic’s stalk and flower bud. Gather them before they harden to steam or stir fry. Cutting scapes allows the root’s vigor to concentrate upon producing chubby garlic bulbs.

Want to gather and plant seeds? Leave the scape on; let the flower bud form seeds. The resulting garlic bulb won’t be harvestable, but seeds can be gathered when the plant is completely dried (end of August or so). Tip: Garlic grown from seed won’t produce decent-sized bulbs for eating for a few

8. Harvest Garlic in Late July or Early August

Harvest Garlic In Late July Or Early August
Harvest garlic in late July or early August

Harvest your garlic when a bottom couple of leaves and stalk are dry, brown, and brittle. Loosen the earth and gently pull the bulbs

9. Harden off Bulbs for a few hours in the Sun

Harden Off Bulbs For A Few Hours In The Sun
Harden off bulbs for a few hours in the sun

Remove big clumps of soil gently, avoiding bruising the bulbs. Note: the bulb’s casing will be damp and is easily bruised. Take care!

10. Cure Garlic by Hanging

Cure Garlic By Hanging
Cure garlic by hanging

Tie the garlic together and hang in a covered space with good air movement. Keep dry. After a couple of weeks, the casing will become papery. Use secateurs (pruning shears) to remove the stem roughly 4 cm above the top of the bulb, then trim off the roots. Store your garlic in paper bags in a cool, dry space.

Tips to Grow Bigger Garlic Cloves

How To Grow Bigger Garlic ClovesIf you want, to grow bigger garlic cloves you need to do the following:

Be sure you are starting with the biggest cloves in the bulb only. Remember, in this case, the size DOES matter!

  • Garlic loves the sun. So plant it in the sunny areas.
  • Make sure the soil is well-drained. Otherwise, garlic will root.
  • Fertilize it. Garlic loves manure. Some people say that chicken manure giver great results but I didn’t try it yet.
  • Don’t forget to weed garlic.
  • Remove scapes or garlic false seedheads. Otherwise, they will take energy and power from your garlic cloves. By the way, garlic seedheads are delicious when young! You can cook them in oil and enjoy their great taste!

Harvest garlic in the right time! The right time to harvest garlic is when the bottom three leaves are brown.

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