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Garlic Planting

The Answer:  Spring bulb that we eat.

The Question: What is garlic?

Pick up 2 to 4 to 10 bulbs of garlic. (Can you ever have too much?) You will break these apart into their individual cloves right before planting. Each bulb will have 6 to 10 cloves. Each clove will form a new bulb by next August. So anticipate your garlic needs and get planting! Garlic, like others in the onion family, grows best with consistent and regular watering, bright sunshine, and loose soil.

A 2 foot by 2 foot area will hold 16 plants.

  • Till the garden area well, about 8 inches deep, so it will drain.
  • Scrape and reserve about 3 inches of topsoil to the side or in a wheelbarrow.
  • Smooth the planting area and space garlic cloves 6” apart in each direction.
  • Set each clove with the root end down and pointed end up.
  • Push the clove into the soil down about 2 inches. When you see the cloves are evenly spaced, cover with the reserved soil about 3 inches deep.
  • Next, cover with 2-4 inches of mulch and let the cloves rest until spring.

Let the winter winds blow and the snow fall!

  • Seasonal moisture should be all they need until actively growing next spring.
  • After snowmelt, you will see the green tops of garlic emerging from the mulch.
  • In April, check that the garlic bed stays moist and water regularly.

By July you’ll see a stem begin to wind its way out of each plant’s center. This is the flower or ‘garlic scape’. For best results, you should cut the scape back about halfway down into the center of the plant. The fairly mild scape can be chopped and used like garlic clove to flavor oils and pesto. Removing it from the plant encourages the growth of a larger bulb.

Continue to keep weeds out and water in.

It will be time to harvest when about 3 leaves have turned dry and brown. Use a spade or garden fork to gently lift the plant out of the soil. Shake off the dirt and spread it in a single layer in a dry, ventilated area.

After a couple of weeks, you can rub off the extra soil, trim the leaves and keep them in an onion bag. Store the cured garlic in a cool, dry location – a cellar entry or other spot not too far from the kitchen is good.

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