Get Going With Garlic

| 9/18/2013 11:53:00 AM

A lot of gardeners fail with garlic. I used to be one of them, but found the secret to growing amazing garlic at home is just timing.

Garlic must be planted in fall, not spring, and knowing when to sow the bulbs of seed garlic is the key to success. Emerging garlics overwinter in the ground and then begin their growth in earnest during spring. Harvest usually takes place the July following your fall planting.

Photo by Nan K. Chase The rest: order seed garlic as soon as possible in August or September (supplies are always tight, and garden centers often don't carry garlic), and prepare a rich and deeply worked bed as you wait for the bulbs to arrive. Plant before a hard frost sets in; this ranges from late September in the far north, October in middle climates, and into December or January in the south. Each clove (seed) of garlic you plant will yield a whole head next year. 

It's a good idea to mulch young garlic heavily with straw over the winter, to keep it from heaving out of frozen ground, and then to remove the mulch and cultivate the soil lightly when spring heats up. Provide plenty of water in early summer.

After harvesting heads of ripe garlic, (it's time to pick when the lower leaves turn brown) dry them on sheets of paper outdoors in the shade before storing them in a cool, dry cupboard. Never wash the dirt off garlic with water; the skins should remain dry.

I always try to order my seed garlic from a wonderful seed company right in my own town, called Sow True Seed, although Seed Savers Exchange also has excellent online garlic resources.

10/9/2013 4:47:27 PM

I have never grown garlic before but would like to give it a try. I would like to grow the softneck variety. Has anyone been successful with this in South Florida?

9/23/2013 3:22:25 PM

Good article

9/23/2013 10:28:04 AM

I have a Garlic growing dilemna. Have been growing "hardneck" varities for years. Carefully rotating crops. NOT growing in the same bed two years in a row....THIS YEAR hit with a huge fungus in one bed, devastating the crop. What have I done wrong???

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