How to grow garlic in your garden

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:

  1. 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)
  2. When you are ready to plant, carefully break open the garlic and separate the tear shaped cloves.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

6 Responses to “How to grow garlic in your garden”

  1. Patrick Says:

    You should get either hardneck garlic with scapes OR softneck garlic that can be braided, but not both. These are two different kinds.If you get garlic that comes from far away, it may have to be regrown in your garden for a few years before the bulbs get big.Otherwise, yes, that’s all there is to growing garlic and what you buy in the store or at the market is fine Like you said, even better if it’s organic. You may as well taste some before you plant it and make sure it’s good, because you will end up with a lot of it eventually.

  2. Says:

    I just wish they wouldn’t take so long to grow! I tried one from bulb from my grocery store (didn’t produce a bulb), one from the nursery (growing nicely), and one from the farmers market (big fat stalks). I checked on mine recently and looks like I still ahve a few more months to go. I can’t wait to try homegrown garlic.

  3. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Well so far from above the surface everything seems to be doing well. Guess while it is growing will get the pest deterrent benefits to keep some Japanese Beetles and Aphids away.

  4. David Says:

    what would be the ideal time to plant in the fall? i’ve tried to grow garlic by planting it in the spring and it was a disaster. so now i’m wanting to plant in the fall, let it sit and grow over the winter and hopefully get nice garlic next year.

  5. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    David, I normally plant in early fall (first couple weeks of September) to let them get established some before the first freeze (for my area is typically mid-Nov, though I can’t remember the last time we didn’t have a freezing Halloween.

  6. Planting seeds outside - The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    […] that should be started outdoors: Beans, Beets, Carrots, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Garlic, Muskmelons, Onions (sets), Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Scallions, Spinach, Turnips, and […]

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