Garlic is a necessary ingredient in almost every dish. So why not grow some from your own garden instead of buying it from the market? It would give you something to boast about to your friends, and you’ll never have to make a last-minute run to the shops if you run out!
If you are interested in learning how to grow your own garlic, keep on reading for some tips.
First things first, you must decide what type of garlic you would like to have. Here are a few:
Soft Neck – the kind that you commonly see in the market. There are two types: Silverskin garlic and the Artichoke garlic.
Hard Neck – there are two kinds: Purple stripe and Rocambole.
Now before we jump into how we plant garlic, here are a few gardening tips when it comes to growing garlic:
- Soil should have a PH level between six to seven, fertile and well-drained
- As much exposure to the sun as possible
- Plant the garlic four to five weeks before the frost date
- Space the plants three to four inches away from each other with six to eight inches between rows
- Cloves should be two to three inches deep in the soil
- Water the plants every three to five days lightly
- There should be 2 inches deep of compost manure before planting
- Harvest 90 – 100 days after you have grown them and the leaves are brown in color
On to the big question: How to plant garlic?
Garlic doesn’t grow from seeds but from bulbs. As such, the difficulty level of planting garlic is very low.
To decipher what is the best time to plant the garlic depends on the planting zone. For instance, if you were residing in a northern climate, the best time would be in fall. This is because in the spring, the ground takes too long to thaw. There should be a six-inch layer of mulch surrounding the bulbs for more insulation in the colder months.
As for the southern climate, the best timing would be in spring. The minute the ground thaws out and is loose enough to work with, plant the bulbs. This gives them enough time to grow a strong root system as well as the opportunity to produce good quality bulbs.
One advantageous tip would be to grow the garlic in elevated beds. This allows for the soil to be loose enough for the bulbs to grow.
Next, remember to ensure that your soil is well-drained. This aids in the growth of the bulbs. Ensure that the wider side of the bulb is placed into the soil, leaving the pointy end sticking out of the soil. Then cover it up.
Garlic can be grown in small spaces, as such, a space of a foot or less is needed in between rows.
How to ensure that the garlic grows well?
- If you reside in a northern climate, there must be mulch around your garlic bulbs during the winter.
- Flowers may be pretty, but in order to ensure that your garlic grows well, snip the flowers off. This will help make sure that more nutrients are going to the bulbs. If flowers were to grow, you would end up reaping smaller garlic bulbs.
- When you see weeds popping you, remove them. You can easily do this with your fingers to gently pull them out. Try not to pull too hard, you do not want to damage anything. Check on them weekly to make sure that there will be no weeds to compete with your bulbs for nutrients. Usually, garlic is not much of a hassle. This is because as time passes, they are able to stifle the weeds out. When this happens, you do not need to check for weeds as much.
- Nitrogen is good for garlic, so make sure that you have a sufficient amount every month. A method used to check if there is insufficient nitrogen is when you see the garlic stems turn yellow. If so, immediately add fertilizer.
- Water the bulbs once a week. When your bulbs begin to grow larger, start watering them around three times a week.
Problems you may encounter when growing garlic
There are bound to be problems when you grow a crop. Here are some of them:
- Fungus gnats
But the biggest problem you would most likely face is white rot. It is a fungus that usually attacks crops in cold weather. The fungus grows in the soil and is unpreventable.
Harvesting and Storing the Garlic
Best time to harvest: you’d see the top of the bulb fall over and turn yellow. Faster harvest them before they dry out completely. Using a garden fork, slowly dig and lift and pull the bulb from underneath. Keep track of your bulbs occasionally.
Once you have successfully harvested your garlic, you must clean them from all the dirt. Do not be too rough. We do not want to break the wrappings around the bulb. Once clean, find a shaded space to hang the bulbs upside down. Give it about 14 days to cure. Once the wrappers have dried up, it is ready to be stored.
Before you store them, remove all the leaves and trim the leftover roots. Keep them separately by removing the top of the garlic and placed in a wooden tray with sawdust. If you do not wish to remove the top, braid the garlic together and hang them in the kitchen. If, say, you are storing a large number of garlic cloves for a long period of time, place them in a dark and dry area that has a temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the whole process of planting your own garlic was an enjoyable one and you would like to do it all over again why not! Save the biggest bulbs from your harvest to use for the following year’s crop.
Best crops to grow together with garlic: peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, kale
What not to grow together with garlic: parsley, peas, sage, beans, and asparagus
Hopefully, we have enticed you to start growing your own garlic. While planting garlic might seem to be a very tedious job, it can be extremely rewarding to use your own homegrown garlic in your cooking!