How to Grow Garlic – The best tips for growing garlic

How to Grow Garlic – The best tips for growing garlic

Ah, garlic. “The flavor is… well, there’s nothing like it on earth,” says Ree Drummond, who uses it all the time in her home cooking.

Whether you like garlic freshly roasted, dressing chicken wings or fries, or mashed for a jar of homemade pesto, you should grow this key kitchen ingredient at home. Unlike some fruits and vegetables, which require proper care—we’re looking at you, tomatoes—garlic grows on its own. Like spring flowering bulbs, you will plant garlic in the fall for harvest next summer. It’s truly one of the best vegetables to grow because the digging rodents tend to leave garlic alone and don’t require you to water it for months, feed it constantly, or wake up over it like an anxious parent. Garlic just keeps growing!

There are two different types of garlic: softneck, which has a flexible stem and keeps for many months (it’s also the kind you can braid together), and hardneck, which has a stiff stem but you can harvest and get rid of, the long curling. stems appearing in late spring to early summer. This allows the plant to put all its energy into producing a larger bulb. In addition, scapes are considered a gourmet treat with a mild garlic flavor that works well in stir-fries, frittatas or pasta dishes.

It’s also smart to order your seeded garlic early; although it may be available at local big box retailers in late summer, you’ll find the best quality garlic online. Order as soon as you remember to do it; most sellers will ship it at the right planting time in your region. Avoid planting garlic from the grocery store, which can be treated so it won’t sprout. Then put the garlic in the ground about a month before the ground freezes in your area.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to grow garlic.

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how to grow garlic

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Garlic needs full sun.

Do not try to plant garlic in the shade; it needs 6 or more hours a day of direct sunlight. Because this crop takes a long time to mature and you won’t harvest until next summer, plant it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed, such as the edge of the garden. Unlike some vegetables, such as peppers, which don’t mind being planted in pots, garlic isn’t a big fan of growing in large containers and won’t get very large. It does best when planted in garden beds.

Plant individual cloves.

When you’re ready to plant, separate the cloves from the garlic head, but leave the papery covering on them intact. Dig holes about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart, then place a clove in each hole, pointed side up. Cover it with soil, beat it. Shoots may appear in the fall, but don’t worry about them (just testing the waters). Next spring, they will appear again and you can then feed a balanced fertilizer if you want. Then watch your plants grow!

fresh garlic escapes in a garden

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When should I harvest my garlic?

If you plant a hardneck garlic variety, curling scapes will appear in early summer. Cut them above the top leaf and enjoy! Don’t leave them on the plant as they will put energy into flowering instead of creating a nice big bulb.

Harvest garlic bulbs when the foliage begins to turn brown and fall off. Use a hand trowel to lift under the bulb and shake off the dirt. Use a rubber band or twine to tie them together, then hang the bundle to harden for a few weeks in a dry place out of direct sunlight. This helps it keep for a longer period of time. Once the bulbs and stalks look and feel very dry, cut the stalks so they are about an inch long. Alternatively, for soft neck types, you can braid the stems while they are still green and hang to dry. This is an attractive and practical storage technique that looks fabulous in your kitchen!

How should I store my garlic?

Never store garlic in the refrigerator, as the cold stimulates it to sprout, shortening its life. Instead, store bulbs hanging or in a mesh bag in a cool, dry place like a pantry. If you accidentally cut any bulbs while digging, use them right away because they won’t last long. You can also save a few bulbs for next year’s garden if you can handle not eating them.

Soft neck garlic
Soft neck garlic

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German garlic with extra resistant seeds
German garlic with extra resistant seeds
Credit: Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Garlic with red Chesnok seeds
Credit: Johnny’s Selected Seed
Romanian Red Garlic

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