Time to Plant Garlic!

October 14, 2014 lisa63 gardenherbs

It’s time to get the garlic in the ground.Garlic

Garlic should be planted between October 1 and November 15 to give the roots a chance to develop before it goes dormant for the winter months.  I prefer to plant hard-neck garlic or Elephant Garlic.

SOIL PREPARATION

Garlic prefers well drained soil.  Raised beds are ideal for garlic as the soil remains well drained and soft, to give the garlic room to grow.    Garlic doesn’t like “wet feet,” so well drained soil will produce large, healthy garlic bulbs. Garlic also likes high organic matter in the soil, so be sure to use good compost or manure in the bed.    Spread 1/2 – 1 inch of compost over the entire bed and work into the first few inches of soil.  No more fertilizer is needed until Spring.

It is also a good time to check the pH levels of your soil.  A soil tester can be purchased at places such as Home Depot, your local garden store, or online.  The pH levels should be between 6 and 7.

PLANTING YOUR BULBS

Peel the outer skin to reveal the cloves inside.  Separate the cloves from the bulb.  Plant the cloves root side down 2-4 inches deep  and 6-8 inches apart.  Cover with soil.

When the ground freezes in late November, mulch the bed with 6-12 inches of straw to help the garlic survive winter’s cold temperatures.  Pine needles can also be used.

That’s all you need to do until Spring!

WHAT TO DO IN THE SPRING

In early Spring, check your garlic bed for small green tips underneath the straw.  Spread the straw out just a bit to give the green tips some sunshine.  Leave the straw around the plants to help keep the weeds down and help the soil retain water.

Fertilizer can be used at this time, but I have never had to use it on my garlic.  If you choose to fertilize, use a complete fertilizer  such as 10-10-10.

Now you are done until July!

WHAT TO DO IN JULY

In July (give or take a few weeks) you will see the long slender leaves begin to turn yellow and die back.  When most of the leaves have died (but not all), loosen the soil (without damaging the bulbs) and gently pull on the stalk until it comes loose.  You now have a multi-cloved bulb from that one small clove you planted in the Fall.

Brush off the loose soil and either hang them in bundles or lay them in a single layer on a piece of cardboard in a well ventilated area such as the garage.  NOTE: Do not wash the bulbs or peel back the skin.  This will cause them to rot.

After two weeks of drying, brush more of the soil from the bulbs.  Cut off the stalks and store them in a cool dry place.

SAVE A BULB OR TWO

After drying the bulbs, save a few bubs for planting next season.  Each bulb will have 4-8 large cloves.  I usually save 5 or 6 bulbs for the next season.

Happy Garlic Planting!

Lisa :)


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