Guest Gardening Bloggers

Growing Garlic

By Lisa Steele | October 12, 2016
Image by Lisa Steele

Growing Garlic

by Lisa Steele October 12, 2016

Growing Garlic

By Lisa Steele | October 12, 2016

Lisa Steele is a chicken keeper, aspiring herbalist and author of the popular books ‘Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally‘, ‘Duck Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Ducks…Naturally’and Gardening with Chickens due out in December. Her writing can also been found on her blog ‘Fresh Eggs Daily’, which was named one of the Top Ten Best Gardening Blogs by Better Homes & Gardens magazine. She regularly contributes to Chickens, Backyard Poultry and Hobby Farm magazines as well as HGTVGardens.com. She has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s radio show and PBS television show and the new reality show Coop Dreams. In her spare time she enjoys cooking with delicious eggs fresh from her coop and vegetables fresh from her garden. You can find her blog at www.fresheggsdaily.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily.


Garlic is a wonderful crop for the novice gardener to start with because it’s very easy to grow. Wild animals such as rabbits or moles aren’t likely to disturb it – and the nice part is that it grows over the winter in your garden plot that would otherwise likely be sitting vacant.

To plant a garlic crop, you’ll need some nice large garlic cloves. Although you can try planting those you find in the grocery store, they might have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, so purchasing organic bulbs from a farmers market or finding an online source is best.

planting-garlic

Planting Garlic

Choose a spot in your garden that gets full sun through the winter and drains well. About five or six weeks before the first expected frost for your area, plant your cloves. You want to give them some time to establish roots before the cold weather sets in. Break the bulb into individual cloves and pick the largest to plant, leaving the papers on. Plant them tip side up about two inches deep and 4-6 inches apart.
mulching-garlic

Mulching Garlic

Cover the cloves with dirt and then mulch the bed with several inches of chopped straw, dried leaves or cut grass. The mulch will help to maintain a constant soil temperature through the winter, retain moisture and keep weeds down. There is no need to water your garlic patch. Just plant the cloves and forget them.
spring-garlic

Spring Garlic

In the spring, when green shoots start to poke through the mulch, you can carefully remove it. Snap off any thin curly ‘scapes’ that grow from the center of the cloves; they drain energy needed to grow the new bulb. However, leave the larger leaves that will begin to emerge. When the leaves turn yellowish-brown, dry up and begin to fall over, your garlic is ready to harvest. Each clove you planted will have grown into an entire bulb of garlic.
Carefully dig up the bulbs with a trowel and gently wipe off any dirt. Leave them in a shaded spot with good air flow for two weeks to let them dry out. Once the wrappers are papery and the roots dry, you can cut the leaves and roots off and store the bulbs in your pantry – or just remove the roots and braid the leaves of several bulbs together, then hang them in a cupboard or pantry.
braided-garlic

Braided Garlic

bucket-of-garlic

Bucket of Garlic

Enjoy your homegrown garlic all through the late summer, fall and winter, but be sure to save the largest cloves to replant each fall. Fresh garlic is more juicy and flavorful than what you buy at the grocery store, so once you start growing your own you’ll always want a ready supply to cook with.

In addition to being extremely nutritious and a natural immune system booster, garlic is a natural fungicide and pest-repellent, so planting it around the perimeter of your garden will help reduce the number of insects and disease on those crops. Garlic can help keep aphids off your roses and is also a good companion plant for strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.

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    Stella G
    Comment added October 12, 2016Reply

    Thanks for this information. Do you use fertilizer? If you do which one Do you use ammonium.

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