Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to Grow Garlic

Many people cook with garlic but never consider growing it.  Buying a single bulb of garlic at the store is around $.50.  Unless you want Elephant Garlic...which is a very large variety and that will run you around $6.00 a pound.  Growing garlic is probably the easiest, lowest maintenance crops I can think of!  Garlic takes around 10 or 11 months to be ready for harvest.  Fall planting is generally what is recommended and what I do.  I usually pick a day that's going to be relatively nice toward the end of October.  Choose a spot in your yard or garden that gets a lot of sunlight, and has good drainage.  You don't want to plant your garlic in an area that's too damp, or the cloves will rot.  Once you have your spot picked, you'll want to order garlic from a seed company.  You could attempt to buy a bulb of garlic at the grocery store, separate the cloves and plant them.  I don't recommend this because you could be getting a hybrid of garlic that won't produce.  Also the bigger cloves you'll get at a seed company will produce large bulbs of garlic when you harvest.  The next step is to separate the cloves from the bulb if they're not already separated.  Plant each clove upright and around an inch under the surface of the soil.  Each clove should be 4 inches apart.  If you're planting rows the rows should be 18 inches apart.  You'll know its time to harvest the garlic when the leaves begin to yellow and brown and die.  If you wait too long the bulbs will split apart, and if you try to harvest too soon the cloves will be too small.  Most varieties if planted in October will be ready around September of the following year.  If you get an "early" variety then you'll be ready to harvest sometime around August.  The leaves will tell you when its time!  Good luck!! This is a great "starter" plant that requires little care.  Try it out and you'll have garlic for the whole year for yourself!

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