My garlic bed, growing in the spring. The fencing panels are still over the beds, put there to keep digging cats and scratching chicken out.
(I told you in a previous post that this was way too much garlic to plant for our use.)
One of my favorite vegetables to grow is garlic.
For whatever reason, there are some vegetables that I have a hard time growing, . This is probably one of the reasons that I so enjoy growing garlic. Garlic always grows so well for me, and I love using it in my cooking. Also, the growing of it does not follow the usual ‘plant in Spring, harvest in Fall’ like so many of the vegetables that I grow do. Those planting and harvesting times are always such busy seasons, and there are always some things that don’t get planted, or tended to properly, or even timely harvested.
(Merry, my sweet garden partner. Between the garlic rows are a good place to hide-he thinks)
Harvested garlic, dried and ready to cut.
Readying a bed for planting-
Digging in a couple of wheelbarrow loads of chicken coop cleaning.
Planting the garlic in the short cross wise rows.
All planted, mulched with straw, and covered with fencing.
I only planted 3/4 of the raised bed this time! I’m improving.
Tips for planting garlic
- The planting of garlic must be timed right. The right time is in the fall, about 4-5 weeks before the first hard frost. That is about Halloween for us here in zone 5. The garlic needs to be in the ground and put some roots down before the ground freezes. It is okay if it starts growing a little, it won’t hurt it. Garlic is the last thing planted in the garden for me, and is kind of symbolic of the end of the garden year. When the garlic is planted, I feel like I am done with gardening for the year.
- Use crop rotation, do not plant garlic in the same place as the previous year. Crop rotation is a good tool to use to help prevent diseases and pests.
- Garlic is a heavy feeder, that is why manure or a time release fertilizer should be applied at planting time.
- Break apart the garlic bulb into the individual cloves at planting time, leaving the papery skin intact.
- Plant with the pointed end UP.
- Plant each clove 3-4 inches deep
- Space each clove 4-6 inches apart.
- Space rows about 10 inches apart, or the space that is easy for you to weed around.
- Mulch the new planting to keep the garlic nice and cozy over the winter, and weed free.
- If there is no rain, water the newly planted garlic.
- The garlic should take off growing nicely in the early spring, keep it weeded and mulched
- The ‘ scapes’, the curled ends of the garlic stalks that grow in early summer, should be cut off. They can be used in cooking, giving a mild garlic taste.
- In the summer, when the outer stalks begin to brown off, it is time to dig the garlic. Knowing when to dig garlic is usually kind of tricky-you want a nicely formed bulb with a number of green stalks still covering the bulb. That time, for zone 5, is around late July/early August. If you wait too long to harvest, the bulb will break apart.
- Brush the dirt off, set the garlic bulbs in a dark, dry place and let them cure for a few weeks. After they have dried sufficiently, you can cut the stalk off and store them, or if they are soft neck garlics, you can braid the stalks and hang them to store. I store my garlic in open brown paper bags.
- When it is time to plant garlic again in the fall, select the biggest bulbs for re-planting.
- Enjoy cooking with your homegrown garlic!
Thou are near, O LORD;
and all thy commandments are truth.