How to grow garlic? Easily, if you ask me. Just give her some sun and some water and watch her go.
Years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Raven, Virginia to visit his grandparents. Like most people who lived on top of the mountain, Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw Ball had a very, very, very large garden.
They’ve grown potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, cabbage, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and lots of garlic! We had just moved into a new home (again in Ohio) and wanted to build our own backyard.
The Maw-Maw Ball gave me a bag full of garlic “seeds” as a start. When I asked her what to do with them, she said in her sweet southern clouds, “Well, honey, you plant them in the dirt.”
YOU JUST NEED TO PLANT IT IN THE DIRT.
I took them home and planted them in the ground once … and enjoyed 13 years of garlic from that very first farm. Like most garden plants, garlic is best grown in bright sunlight, but it works surprisingly well in gardens with more shade.
It is a somewhat impeccable plant.
There are two main types of garlic: a hard neck (also called a stiff neck) and a soft neck (sometimes called a stiff neck). Hard-necked varieties produce a solid central stem. The stem wraps up, and the head of a pod, called a bulb, grows. Hard-necked
varieties tend to produce 5-7 large lobes. Cloves with a firm flavor tend to have a stronger flavor than soft-necked varieties. They are hardy and usually grow in northern regions.
Soft-necked varieties are not very hardy. They are best for hot climates. As the name suggests, soft-necked varieties do not have a hard stem and do not grow stems. Soft stems are good for braiding. The soft-necked varieties usually have a milder flavor. Each follicle contains about 12 lobes. Soft neck varieties generally have a longer life span than hard neck varieties.
THERE ARE TWO EASY WAYS TO GROW GARLIC.
The most common method is to grow cloves. Each garlic clove will grow a new onion of garlic. (Note: the clove is the small part of the onion. I had a friend who followed a recipe for dipping cheese with garlic, so instead of adding 2 cloves of garlic, she added 2 onions of garlic.
Garlic. You will never go wrong again!)
Plant each clove (flat end down, pointed side) two inches deep. Space between them about 6 inches. You can expect growth to occur in 4-6 weeks.
If you are growing stern neck garlic, you can plant the stem bulbs. This method takes a longer time to fully develop a bulb. If you picked garlic in the first growing season, you should see a single clove attached to the stem instead of a bulb with multiple pods. If you wait until next season, you will find a small blister.
Wait for the third season … you will find a full bulb. There it isn’t necessary to start it indoors on a windowsill as you would with tomato or pepper seeds. They are as hard as nails. You just need to plant it in the ground and it will grow.
Growing garlic from onions takes longer, but it does have its advantages. The main advantage is that the garlic plant contains much more bulbs than cloves. Growing from bulbs is also a good way to prevent soil-borne diseases.
THE BEST TIME TO PLANT GARLIC IS FALL.
The clove will begin to grow, sleep in the winter, and then begin growing again in the spring. If you are growing a hard-necked variety, around mid-June you will find that the upper stem will begin to curl and form a scoop. A common practice is to cut the stems so that the plant can focus its growth on the bulb. Some growers claim this results in a larger bulb. Others say it makes no difference.
I prefer to leave most of my follicles, and let them burst and fall where they want. Then I have a steady stock of garlic that grows easily on my side. (This is a bad idea if you have a little room to grow. You will end up with garlic everywhere!)
If you plan to keep your bulbs for replanting, it is best to leave them on the stalk until (nearly) ready to fall off on their own. You can store it in a brown paper bag.
The bulbs look like small, rounded lobes. Smells like garlic cloves are very good and can be stir-fried or steamed. They have a much milder flavor than cloves.
Towards the end of June / early July, you will notice that the lower half of the leaves begin to dry out and turn brown. It means harvest time! Dig up a garlic onion and hang it in a shady location. Don’t wait for all of the leaves to turn brown. Each sheet hangs around the envelope around the lamp.
If you have 5 leaves you should have 5 layers of wrapping around the lamp. If you let it dry a lot before digging it, the casing will crack underground.
IS WILD GARLIC THE SAME AS REGULAR GARLIC?
Wild garlic is a perennial in the cold season. It grows in small tufts that resemble grass. It is edible, but it has a very mild flavor. Many dishes that require wild garlic use the leaves as well as the young bulb. Wild garlic can sometimes smell like onions. An easy way to distinguish between them is to look at the penis.
Wild onions have flat stems. Wild garlic has a hollow stalk. Garlic and onions are from the same family of lilies. Just as lily of the valley can infest your garden, so can wild garlic.
7 TIPS FOR GROWING GARLIC
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if I make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon member, I earn eligible purchases.
With a little planning when planting, garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow in the garden. Here are some tips for growing garlic.
WHY IS GARLIC GROWING?
• More variety: More than 200 varieties of garlic are available from seed catalogues and farmers’ markets in the United States. There are only two types commonly found in grocery stores. If you love to cook and eat garlic, growing your own garlic allows you to add different types to your meal planning.
• Essential ingredient in cooking: Garlic is an essential ingredient to add flavor to many cuisines around the world. You will find garlic in soups, stews, snacks, dips, french fries, sauces, flavoured bread and butter. With its many culinary uses, it’s worth keeping garlic on hand.
• Health benefits: Garlic has documented health benefits. It can help strengthen the immune system, reduce high blood pressure, and has antibiotic and antifungal properties. So it is a good idea to include garlic in your diet.
• Holds well: Once the garlic is dry, it has a long shelf life. With so little space in your garden, you can grow enough garlic to last most of the year.
HERE ARE 7 HELPFUL TIPS FOR GROWING GARLIC
Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow and does not take up very little space in the garden. All you need is a sunny spot and these helpful tips for growing garlic.
1. BUY GARLIC SEEDS FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE
Common white garlic shouldn’t be used in the grocery store for seeds. It is possible that garlic was grown in a temperate climate in Northern California or even outside the country. It may have been chemically treated so that it will not sprout. Alternatively, buy garlic from certified seeds for best results. Garlic seeds can be found at local garden centres and on the Internet.
Some of the online sources I have used in the past include High Mowing Seeds and FEDCO. My garden is located in Maine, Zone 5.
Other reliable sources include vegetable interest, regional seeds, and seed exchange. Also consider local farmers’ markets, pet food store, county fairs, garlic festivals, or other gardeners in your area.
Try not to be shocked by the initial price of garlic seeds. Remember, each clove will produce another head of garlic and produce plenty of food and seeds of garlic for years to come. One pound of garlic seeds can yield 40 garlic bulbs, or about 5 pounds of garlic, depending on the variety. Planting with high-quality organic seed stock will start a good harvest of garlic while reducing the risk of disease.
2. SELECT VARIETIES THAT GROW WELL IN YOUR AREA.
When purchasing garlic seeds, try to buy from a supplier who has a similar growing environment. Garlic is adaptable to many growing conditions, but it may take several years to adapt. You will get better results right away if you plant garlic that has already been adapted to your climate and soil type.
Garlic varieties are roughly classified into two main categories: hard neck and soft neck:
Hardneck Garlic: Hardneck varieties are best suited for regions with cold winters. If you grow tough garlic, it will give you two crops. A few weeks before the end of the garlic’s growth, you’ll send a flower stalk.
This stalk is called “scab garlic.” Harvesting the garlic stalk helps the plant focus its energy on growing a bulb. Chunks of garlic are edible and have a light and delicious garlic flavor. The garlic stem gives a hard stalk or neck in the middle of the bulb. 10 ways to use a garlic peeler
Softneck Garlic: This is the type of garlic we used to see in the grocery store. It has a white packaging and a mild garlic flavor. Soft-necked garlic is less cool in extreme northern regions and tends to grow better in warmer climates. The soft-necked varieties do not produce a scape, but the foliage can be easily braided for hanging. It has a long-term storage reputation.
3. PLANTING AT THE OPTIMUM TIME FOR YOUR AREA.
Plant garlic seeds 4-6 weeks before the estimated fall frost date (see here: PlantMaps.com). Gardens should be planted in zones 5 to 8 from mid-October to mid-November.
The goal of planting in the fall is to give garlic a head start. Once you plant the garlic, it will start sending out roots. Garlic becomes dormant when the cold weather arrives and the ground freezes, then start growing again once the soil warms up in the spring.
Wintering in the ground also allows the lamp to experience the cold period needed to form the lamp. Stiff neck garlic requires a period of cold winter temperatures to encourage the seeds to split and develop into separate cloves that make up the garlic head. This process is called vernalization. Stimulate the garlic in the onion when the day length increases to about 14 hours.
4. PREPARING THE SOIL BEFORE PLANTING
Grow garlic in full sun in loose soil. Choose a well-drained garden bed that receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Identify an area that didn’t have onions or any other day this year. Weeding and work in a generous layer of final compost and slow-release organic fertilizers according to package directions. If the weather is dry, water your flower bed well the day before planting.
5. MULCH TO PREVENT WEEDS AND RETAIN MOISTURE
Garlic has a shallow root system and will stop growing in dry soil conditions or when the roots get too hot. Covering the surface of the soil helps prevent weeds, maintain moisture, and insulate the roots.
Water your garlic bed well after planting and add a light layer of mulch to prevent weeds until the ground freezes.
Adding a thick layer of mulch before freezing the soil can isolate the soil and delay the natural dormancy of the plants. This can damage the roots after a harsh winter.
Once the soil hardens, add another layer of mulch to isolate the frozen soil and deep freeze it. This helps protect the roots and prevents garlic from being pulled from the ground by alternating freezing and thawing.
6. PEEL OFF THE GARLIC PEELER
Garlic blossoms are the flower stems produced by hard-necked garlic plants. Several weeks before the onion has finished growing, a flower stalk is sent out. The torso is pushed up for several inches and then turned once or twice before continuing to push up. Removing the garlic stalk allows the plant to devote its energy to growing a larger garlic bulb.
Tender, mild-flavored garlic sprouts are edible and can be used in any recipe that requires garlic.
7. IT IS TIME TO HARVEST THE GARLIC
Knowing when to harvest garlic can be difficult. Raising the blisters early will cause small, patchy blisters to appear. When harvested too late, cloves may crack the skin. Any of these situations will affect garlic’s long-term storage potential.
The number of days to maturity varies with the climate and the variety of garlic grown, but garlic grown as of October is ready by mid-July in my garden in Maine, Zone 5.
Garlic finishes growing when the foliage begins to turn brown.
The leaves grow from the bottom up, so the lower leaves die first. Dig a test bulb once the bottom 2-3 leaves have turned brown. The cloves should be large, and the peel should be full and tight. Stop watering and wait for a dry period to dig up the bulbs.
Garlic does not take up much space in the garden and does not need much attention. I hope these tips encourage you to grow garlic on your own.
Good planning is the key to a successful vegetable garden
Whether you’re new to growing your own food or growing a vegetable garden for years, you’ll benefit from planning every year.