How To Grow Garlic

seed-garlic.jpg

Basic Growing Instructions

Garlic is one of those very easy to grow crops. You can purchase garlic in the grocery store or buy it from your garden supply store or seed source. (While we have read that some of the grocery store variety garlic has been treated so that it won't germinate; we have yet to ever find this to be true.)

Follow these simple instructions.

  • Northern U.S. - Plant 4 -6 weeks before the ground freezes. 
  • Milder Climates - Plant from October to January
  1. Separate the cloves from the bulb, do not peel them.
  2. Plant cloves in a prepared bed with the pointed side up, burying them about 1 inch deep in mild climate or 2 - 4 inches deep in cold winter climate. Cloves should be planted a minimum of 4 inches apart with 8 inches between rows. For the largest bulbs, plant 6 inches apart with 12 inches between rows.
  3. Cover with up to 2" of mulch.
  4. Water sufficiently so that soil remains moist but not wet and soggy.
  5. Feed with organic fertilizer like chicken manure (side dress). You may also use a spray-on fertilizer that gets absorbed through the leaves.
  6. Once the plant starts setting bulbs, stop fertilizing. During the growth period keep the plants evenly moist. Don't let the bed dry out, and don't over water.
  7. It is time to harvest the garlic when the tops turn 90% brown and there are still 5 or 6 green leaves. 
  8. Pull the bulbs up by the tops and immediately remove the bulbs from direct sunlight. Do not wash the garlic. It is best to keep the tops on the plant while the garlic cures to increase storage time. Dry in bunches or flat in a cool dry area with adequate air circulation to inhibit rotting.
  9. Once the garlic is dry you can clean off the soiled layers. Any stubborn soil can be brushed off with a small brush.  A new, clean toothbrush works well for this task.

How To Store Harvested Garlic

Once dried and cleaned you can braid the garlic or trim the tops and place the garlic in net bags. Make sure to store in a cool area with good air circulation. Avoid storing in temperatures below 40 degrees because the bulbs will begin to sprout.

braided garlic

A finished garlic braid.  You can buy these online from Etsy Store: Utahs Best Artist

Braiding Instructions

You can click this link for a simple set of instructions for braiding your garlic.

Growing Garlic In Winter

Grow Garlic Greens

This is an excerpt from Martha's Good Thing (from MarthaStewart.com)

"Winter is the off-season for gardeners, but this easy project will keep your green thumb in shape. When planted, garlic cloves sprout chive-like shoots that can be used as a seasoning or garnish. These greens yield a flavor that is gentler and subtler than chopped garlic, but stronger than chives.

Slightly submerge three or four garlic cloves in a pot containing soilless mix (such as vermiculite), and water lightly. Set pots in a sunny window, and in 7 to 10 days, you'll have garlic greens ready for snipping. To keep a steady supply on hand, plant new cloves every 2 to 3 weeks."
green garlic

 green garlic: photo by gourmetsleuth.com

Seed Garlic Sources

Seed garlic can typically be obtained from your local nursery.  Try online sources for more exotic varieties.

author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.