For all those gardeners looking for a short gardening getaway from (hopefully) a robust summer season, garlic is the answer! Garlic doesn’t need to be planted until October or early November, while requiring little amounts of your time and it grows all winter. Because of this garlic is not for the instant gratification gardener but it is worth the wait.
When choosing a garlic variety to plant, be sure to select one that is certified disease-resistant bulbs. To avoid contaiminating your garden with unwanted diseases, it is important that you rotate your garlic crop and avoid planting members of the Allium family in the same spot each year. When possible garlic prefers well-drained soil with a high organic content.
How to grow garlic:
- Choose the variety you prefer and buy whole bulbs
- Break bulbs into cloves before planting but do not peel them
- Only plant the larger cloves as the small ones will only produce small bulbs
- Plant cloves about 4 inches apart in rows, with the rows 1-2 feet apart, and two inches under the soil
- Irrigate the crop (if it hasn’t started to rain yet) and continue to pay close attention the to moisture in the soil as you will need to irrigate again in the spring
Starting in mid-June to early July you will see the leaves yellowing and beginning to dry. This means it is time to harvest! It is best to dig the bulbs out as compared to pulling them because pulling could separate the stalk from the bulb or split the bulbs apart which reduces storage life.
Leave the stalks on the garlic and allow them to dry before storing. Garlic can be dried in the sun or in a well-ventilated location indoors. If you choose to dry in the sun consider placing plant tops on top of the bulbs to protect them from sunburn.