Thursday, October 11, 2012

It is time to plant your garlic

home grown garlic
Hello Gardeners,

We have come upon my favorite time of year. Along with that, time to plant my favorite bulb - garlic. I love garlic and use it all the time in soups, meats and salads. Garlic is a necessity for every kitchen. Garlic requires cool weather to do well, and the most robust bulbs are produced from fall planting. Planting stock is readily available, so now is the time to go to your garden center and pick it up. Plant the garlic at least two weeks before the first frost so that the roots set. The timing of fall planting should be such that the roots have a chance to develop and the tops do not break when the ground freezes.

I am going to try to get my garlic and new soil for my containers this week. One pound of garlic seeds should produce between four to eight pounds of garlic bulbs at harvest time. Garlic likes friable, well-drained soil with plenty of nutrients. Loosen the soil deeply and work in some organic fertilizer based on previous soil tests. 

Break the garlic bulbs into cloves the day before or day of planting, but no earlier because the cloves can dry out. Inspect the cloves and remove any that are tiny, have blue mold, or look too dried out. Plant only the firm cloves. For more instructions, I embedded some instructional YouTube videos showing you all how to plant and grow garlic. 

Make a furrow about 3 inches deep and place the cloves in it, six inches apart. Be sure to plant the cloves pointed end up. If you plant them upside down, they will grow but will be misshapen and smaller than they should be. Make your rows 10-12 inches apart. Rake soil back over the cloves, so that they are covered by 2 inches of soil.
If it’s been really dry and no rain is forecast, water the bed well.

Finally, mulch with 3-4 inches of organic material such as straw, alfalfa hay, or grass clippings. You can mulch immediately after planting, or wait a few weeks.

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