How To Plant Garlic

Garlic is the vegetable from Heaven, in my opinion. When a recipe calls for one clove of garlic I am the person that throws in four. With all this garlic love going on, naturally, I need it in my garden and so do you! Garlic is best planted in the fall for maximum production. Since fall is here, I need to get a move on and plant this garlic. Come with me to the garden and I will show you how to plant garlic…

What Is Garlic?

Garlic is considered a vegetable, but is mostly used as an herb. It is part of the onion, shallot, and leek family. Seems about right since they complement one another. Raw garlic grows into a bulb that is composed of individual cloves. Each clove is a bulb that when placed in soil will grow into a new head of garlic.

How To Grow Garlic

First, let’s talk about soil. Before you plant your garlic you should know the quality of your soil. Do a PH test to see what amendments you need. Garlic enjoys loamy soil (that just means loose crumbly texture) with a PH of 6-6.5. Garlic is a heavy feeder, so plan to add some fertilizer during the growing season.

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What You Need
  • Garlic seed
  • organic fertilizer or homemade compost
  • grass clippings, straw, or shredded leaves

Now that your soil is prepared, find a source for garlic seed. You can find this online or from a local farmer. Avoid buying garlic from the store for planting because they have been sprayed with chemicals to discourage sprouting.

Break apart the garlic heads so that you have individual cloves. Leave the paper covering intact. Place the clove, flat bottom (called the basal plate) down, into the soil. The flat side is where the roots will emerge. The pointed part of the clove is where the green garlic plant will sprout and come up out of the soil. Each clove should be planted 4-5 inches apart, and 3 inches deep(if using mulch) or 5 inches deep(no mulch). Space the rows 18-24 inches apart.

Once you have your cloves planted, it is time to spread on 6 inches of mulch. The mulch can be weed free straw, grass clippings, or shredded leaves. The mulch serves several purposes. One, it protects the plants from the weather, and two, it provides a weed barrier.

We will be using woven weed fabric along with straw for our mulch. I am hoping this will keep the weeds down, plus I just love my weed fabric so I want to see how the garlic grows with this extra step. You do not need the fabric, it is just something that we are experimenting with this season.

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