It’s my favorite time of year for so many reasons — the cooler weather, the pumpkins, the scarecrows, the tasty fall treats.
But, there’s one other reason I love this time of year. It’s garlic planting season!! I might kill just about every plant I’ve ever tried to grow, but garlic is about the only thing that basically grows itself.
I use garlic in just about everything. It is one of those spices that you can use to make anything taste even better! From Spaghetti Sauce (which you HAVE to eat with Cheesy Garlic Bread) to Meatloaf, a couple cloves of fresh garlic take it from yum to Oh-My-Gosh-This-Is-So-Good!!
And, the thing about garlic is, it is so stinkin’ easy to grow. Sure, it takes time — but ALL good things take time, AMIRITE?!?
Here’s How You Grow Garlic
The thing about garlic, it takes dang near 10-months to grow a garlic bulb. It’s not one of those quick-growing crops.
You need a DEDICATED growing space for your garlic. One that you’re not going to need to plant summer crops in — because your garlic will still be growing when it’s time to plant those summer crops.
Something you also need to consider, garlic needs to be planted in a different space every year, to give the soil time to “rest.” So, have a plan for using a different plant bed next year and the year after.
Now, you want to start with garlic that you get from a local farmer. The garlic bulbs you buy in stores, while it may give you some semblance of garlic, may have actually been treated to not grow as big as it could. I know, it’s weird, but it’s true.
Once you go through an entire garlic growth cycle, you will have your own garlic cloves to plant NEXT year — and one clove planted equals one bulb of garlic grown.
You want to plant your garlic sometime between mid september and the end of November, before the first freeze. That way the roots have time to take hold of the soil.
Choose a rather sunny, pretty well drainable place to plant your garlic.
Now, break apart your head of garlic into individual cloves. Make sure you leave those garlic papers on the cloves.
Next, you want to loosen — or break up — the soil you are going to use. Make sure to go about 6 to 8 inches deep with the tilling.
Get a good organic fertilizer — or compost works great — and spread it on the top of your loosened soil.
According to The Food Network, you want to plant each clove about 4 inches deep and 5 inches apart, with the pointy side of the clove facing up.
You want to loosely cover each clove with soil, and then lay about 6-inches of straw or mulch on top of the soil. This will help the garlic shoots grow during the winter months.
It is recommended that once you see green tips start showing, you shock the plants with a boost of nitrogen fertilizer.
You don’t need to over water the garlic. About an inch of water a week is about all you will need to keep the garlic moist.
Scapes are the curly flower stems that often form as the garlic matures. Cut or break them off after they are 10 inches long and reserve them for eating.SeedSavers.org
That is basically it. From there, the garlic should just about take care of itself.
You want to harvest your garlic sometime in June or July, when you notice the leaves start to die back.
Loosen the soil with a shovel or pitchfork and then dig the garlic carefully. Do not pull the stalk or it will separate from the bulb. Gently brush most of the dirt off. Tie plants in a bundle of 6-8 plants and hang in a shaded, dry, well-ventilated shed or garage. Leave plants hanging for 4-6 weeks so that bulbs can cure.SeedSavers.org
Now, enjoy your garlic!! Fresh grown garlic is so good and flavorful!!