Growing garlic is an easy and fun way to enter the world of growing your own food. While plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini will yield fruit for a longer season, garlic by comparison is quite easy to grow.
You shouldn’t plant garlic from the store as it’s often treated with a chemical to prevent growth. Organic garlic can be planted if you know it’s hardy for your zone. You can also get garlic online or at your favorite plant nursery.
A bulb of garlic will yield many cloves and each clove is what you are going to plant. Break a garlic bulb apart into individual cloves, being careful to keep the papery skins covering each clove intact.
Some gardeners recommend the following to help prevent fugal disease and promote good growth. Fill a quart jar with water and mix in 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid seaweed. Soak the cloves in this mixture for 2 hours prior to planting.
Garlic likes to grow in well drained rich soil. I amend my soil with a good organic fertilizer and manure in the fall. Dig a furrow about 3 inches deep to plant the garlic. Be sure to put the clove pointy side up, flat side down. Cover with soil and then cover the row with several inches of straw. The straw helps to keep weeds down in the summer and the soil temperatures from changing too much all winter. If you don’t have straw you can use pine needles.
The garlic will sprout in a few weeks and then stop growing in the coldest weather. The growth cycle starts again in the spring. Feed the garlic for about 8 weeks from early spring until mid-May. Then let the bulbs form. I use a liquid fish fertilizer.
As the leaves start to brown in the middle of the summer you can harvest the garlic. Save some of the biggest bulbs for “seed garlic” to grow more the following year.
Here is a guide from Renee’s Garden on growing garlic.