Learning how to grow garlic should be one of the first thing you do when you are starting a vegetable garden. Super easy to grow, garlic is a staple in my kitchen. Planting garlic was a given.
A great thing about garlic is that it is planted in the fall and is one of the early things to arrive in your garden in the spring. Very motivating!
This little bed of garlic I'm working on in the video and image was planted on November 12. Check the update at the bottom of the page, sprouts showing Feb 14! Great valentines surprise. And you'll be surprised to know which type of garlic came up first.
There are many types of garlic that one can get from seed catalogs and garden centers. The three main types are:
I've read that garlic will actually adapt to your conditions. If you plant the largest cloves from this year, next year the cloves will be healthier too. Do this from year to year and your garlic will be adapted to your soil conditions. Sounds good to me!
This particular year I planted a seed garlic called Donostia Red, and to fill in some more space and experiment (I'm always experimenting in the garden!) I added some plain old store garlic to the bed. We'll see how it goes.
Garlic prefers well drained soil with plenty of organic matter... uhm I think all veggies like these conditions. My soil however is rocky and borderline acceptable. I'd encourage anyone to give it a try and see if it works for you. Remember my motto in the garden is "Go ahead, give it a try!"
Garlic likes full sun but tolerates partial shade.
Be sure to mulch this well. I used wood chips some manure and leaves from my yard, straw would work well too.
In the spring if your mulch is very thick go ahead and pull away the mulch. This can be done right around the time that spring flowers like daffodils are blooming. Young green shoots should be showing soon!
I'm editing this page to add this update.... February 14... we have sprouts! and you know what is coming up first? The plain old grocery store garlic. Of course it is the harvest that matters, but just in case you wonder. :)
Early spring start watching for those little green shoots to start poking their way through. Usually one of the first things to appear it just makes my little gardeners heart smile!
Keep your garlic area weeded. Hoes can damage the garlic so be sure not to use tools too deeply. Your best bet is to weed by hand.
As your garlic grows clip the flower buds short. This will encourage the bulbs to grow.
Harvest in late summer or fall. It is time when the leaves start turning brown or if the tops fall over. Simply loosen the soil and pull the bulbs out.
You will want to 'cure' the garlic. This simply means leaving the garlic out in the open air to dry. Be sure to keep the curing garlic out of the rain. When the skins of the bulbs are dry the curing time is complete. This may take up to 2 weeks.
Garlic bulbs can be stored in a cool dry area from 5 to 8 months.