My experiment of planting organic garlic which I bought from my local produce section of my grocery store seems to be working well. If you want to try this yourself here are some hopefully easy to follow steps:
- Buy some good looking garlic at your grocery store (I chose organic since I made an assumption there was a decreased chance that it was treated to prevent growth)
- When you are ready to plant, carefully break open the garlic and separate the tear shaped cloves.
- Take the largest cloves and plant in well cultivated soil 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart with pointed end up, these will be for your full garlic bulbs.
- Take the smaller cloves and either use in some spaghetti sauce or plant them in your garden 1-2 inches apart to harvest as baby garlic (think green onions, but strong garlic flavor)
- Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (or bone meal) during planting but avoid fertilizing after that point since you don’t want to encourage too much foliage growth by having an abundance of nitrogen in the soil and allow the plant to use its energy to grow a big bulb.
- When the foliage on the “scapes” began to completely uncurl you can cut them off and use them on salads, scrambled eggs, or even garlic scape pesto. I would recommend leaving a couple of your garlic plants with scape attached since it also works a natural indicator of when your garlic is ready to harvest. When the lower third of the scape is light brown (the color your expect for garlic) it is ready to dig out.
- Take any cracked bulbs and use them immediately, take the remaining bulbs and wash off any dirt and let them dry for 2-3 weeks depending on how dry your climate is.
- Once cured hang in a mesh bag or braid the garlic and given proper airflow and temperature (50-70 degrees) your garlic should last for 6 months (if not eaten by then)
As you can see growing garlic is pretty low maintenance and I am definitely looking forward to using it to my salsa this fall.