One of the easiest crops you can grow is Garlic. Garlic is planted in the fall in most regions of the country, this is by that time many summer crops have already been harvested, leaving some free garden space. The Garlic bed won’t be available for another type of crop until late next summer, when it is time to harvest the Garlic you actually planted the previous fall.
Choosing What Kind of Garlic to Plant in Your Garden
If you’re replanting garlic from your own stock you need to choose the biggest and best heads from the summer’s harvest. If you’re purchasing, make sure you look for garlic sold specifically for planting. Actually, most garlic from the produce section at the supermarket may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor to prevent it from growing.
There are different types of garlic
The Hardneck garlic varieties really produce a stiff stem that grows up through the center of the bulb. When compared to the softneck varieties, they tend to have a sharper flavor, with more variation in flavor among the varieties. The Hardneck garlic varieties are hardier too, making them a very good choice for regions with very cold winters. Once they are harvested, the bulbs have a somewhat shorter shelf life than the softneck varieties.
The softneck garlic varieties don’t actually produce a stiff central stem. These varieties are the type of garlic you’ll find at most supermarkets. These varieties have a relatively mild flavor. Actually the softneck garlic is the best choice for regions with mild winters, and is also the type of garlic to grow if you want to make garlic braids.
The Elephant garlic has resembles of a giant head of garlic and is indeed, does belong to the same genus, Alliums. Nevertheless, it is not”true” garlic but rather is more closely related to the leek.
The following are the steps on how to plant Garlic;
Ensure you plant the garlic in fall about 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes.
You need to prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 8″ and then mix in some slow-release, granular organic fertilizer.
Just prior to planting, break up the garlic heads into individual cloves, leaving as much of the papery covering on each clove intact as possible.
You can plant the cloves 3″ to 4″ deep, orienting them so the pointy ends face up.
Ensure you water gently to settle the soil, and then cover the bed with about 4″ to 6″ layer of straw. Even as air temperatures drop, the soil will stay warm enough for the newly planted cloves to establish roots before the ground freezes. Sometimes you’ll see some green shoots form in fall; that’s fine and won’t harm the garlic plants. They’ll begin growing in earnest in spring.
Next spring and summer, make sure you keep the bed weeded and watered.
How to Harvest Garlic
Actually determining when the garlic is ready for harvest is one of the trickiest parts about growing it. If you harvest the garlic too soon the cloves will be small and underdeveloped. And if you also wait too long the heads will dry, the cloves will begin to separate and the head won’t be tight and firm.Harvesting garlic depends on the growing season and where you live, garlic is usually ready for harvest in late July.