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How to Grow Garlic

"Garlic"

How to Grow Garlic

 

This slow-growing, sustainable root is a work horse in the garden, easy to  grow, easy to care for and stores well in the kitchen.
Home-grown garlic boasts a unique and flavorful potency far superior to any other Allium I’ve tasted. Onions, leeks, shallots and chives are delicious but none can compare to my favorite Allium member, garlic. Both Hard Neck and Soft Neck garlic have many varieties to choose to grow. Hard Neck garlic seems to thrive best in my New England garden.

Plant garlic in the late summer or early fall. A couple of months before a ground freeze. This gives the roots time to adhere to the soil so the plant is stabilized for the cold of winter that it enjoys. Plant in full sun or light shade.
It’s so fine to see the garlic greens piercing up through the snow.

How to Plant Garlic

"Separate Garlic Cloves"

Separate Garlic Cloves

"Plant 2" Deep

Plant 2″ Deep Point Up

"Plant 6" Apart"

Plant 6″ Apart

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic flourishes best in loose, rich organic soil. It’s great if the pH is @ 6.5 but pH @ 6.0 – 7.0 is OK too. Lightly water when the soil is dry. Manure the soil a couple of months before sowing and again in the spring when the greens start to grow. Highly recommended.
Thickly layer with mulch before the ground hardens. Replace mulch with compost in the spring.

You can snip back garlic scapes to encourage larger bulbs. Garlic scapes are flower stalks. If you plan to eat garlic scapes it’s best to cut them back just as the scape begins to curl.

Harvest Garlic in late summer. Greens should be turning brown while some of the greens should still be green. “In other words, don’t wait until all the greens are brown.” Gently loosen the soil with a garden fork & gently dig one up. It’s tempting to pull the greens. Don’t. Garlic cures best with the greens and roots left on.
Garlic curing methods vary from one farmer to another. Some farmers cure garlic by laying it out on screens in an airy, shady place. Others braid the leaves and hang the bulbs in bunches, like I do.

How I cure garlic:
First I don’t wash my garlic. Washing garlic with water could cause rotting. I gently brush off any soil that I can with my hands. Any remaining soil will have to dry a bit more before I can clean it. I’ll wait until the clinging soil is dry enough to rub off even more later.

I like to cure my garlic by hanging it from its greens in an airy, shady place. Sometimes I braid the scapes making bunches of 5 or 6 garlic bulbs; other times I just hang them. Either way I hang them with air circulation in mind.

I leave the greens and roots on until the outside of the plant seems very dry. Then I remove the longest roots, if I have time, but leave very tiny roots attached. I do not remove the leaves. My garlic harvest remains hanging until I’m ready to cut off a bulb to use it.

Although my full sun garlic crops have produced bolder garlic harvests, my partly shaded garlic crops produced good, humble garlic harvests too.

Urban Farming – Sustainable – Grow Garlic

Urban Farmer Lady

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

~Mahatma Gandhi

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