Garlic is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It takes up a little room, tastes great, and grows very easily in your backyard. You also don’t need to have a very big garden to grow it. Even with a small garden, you can grow enough garlic to be self-sufficient for the whole year.
Garlic was one of the very first things that I planted when I started growing my own food. I asked for advice from experts about which food crop should I start with and most of them suggested me to start with it. Why? Because of how easy it is to plant and harvest.
If you are also planning to harvest your garlic, then you have come to the right place. I will help you with the planting garlic and pass on to you all the important information that I have learned over time. Here is everything you need to know about planting this easy vegetable.
All You Need to Know About How to Grow Garlic
Garlic belongs to the allium family of plants. It is a bulbous vegetable that has been used for centuries. As mentioned below, it is one of the easiest plants to harvest in your garden. It easily grows from an individual clove. Each clove when buried in the ground forms a new bulb that itself contains around 5-10 cloves. Garlic is also a great crop to grow with children. Since the cloves are a perfect size, they can be easily planted by the small hands of children. This will spark their interest in growing their own vegetables.
Garlic is commonly used in preparing food. It gives off a beautiful aroma and is a staple in many countries. It also tastes great when roasted and is used to add flavor to many recipes.
Choosing the Type of Garlic
Garlic comes in a wide variety. You will find dozens of these garlic varieties if you look over the internet or through a specialist catalog. However, you don’t need to get confused between all these varieties. There are two basic differences to look for when growing the plant yourself: hardneck and softneck.
Softneck: Softneck gets its name because of the fact that the entire green plant dies down after the crop is ready (https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/garlic/7168.html). What you get are only a bulb and flexible stems. It is very easy to braid this kind of garlic.
Hardneck: Hardneck garlic, as the name suggests, has a stiff and hard stem in the center. This stem ends up in either bundle of little bulbs or terminates into a beautiful flower. It then dries into a rigid stick. This makes braiding this kind almost impossible.
Softneck varieties are the easiest to grow if you live in mild regions. These are also the standard garlic varieties that you get in grocery stores. They have a longer life than hardneck varieties. However, these produce strong flavored and smaller cloves. These are also less hardy than hardnecks. Hardnecks, on the other hand, grow well where there is real winter. These varieties refuse to produce and are more vulnerable in warmer climates.
A tip is to buy your seed stock from your local farmer’s market. It will be the type that is already growing in your area and you can easily produce it too.
Where to Plant Garlic?
It is important to choose a spot for planting garlic that has not been used recently for either for a garlic plant or any other plant from the onion family. You should also avoid planting it in the areas where water tends to collect and stand around the roots. Garlic roots are very delicate and too much water can cause them to rot. It also exposes them to various diseases that affect the health of your plant (https://www.burpee.com/gardenadvicecenter/vegetables/garlic/garlic/article10268.html).
When to Plant Garlic?
Fall Planting: If you want to plant garlic in fall, start in mid-autumn. Choose a sunny location that has well-drained soil. It will start growing in early spring or late fall.
Spring Planting: For spring planting, you can start growing the plant as soon as the soil can be worked. It is almost the same time as the onion crop starts to set.
Fall and spring planting both follow the same procedure that is mentioned below.
How to Plant Garlic?
The soil you choose should be as weed-free as possible. When growing garlic, make sure that the soil you choose is well-drained and fertile. Clear the top 6 inches of the soil of stones. You can also choose to grow it on a raised bed. Mix several inches of well-rotted manure or compost into the soil bed before planting your cloves (https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/advice/a18057/growing-garlic-460709/).
Planting garlic is easy. Cloves should be inserted with their root-side down. The root-side is the blunt end while the pointed end should be facing above. Plant them 8 inches apart from each other on all sides. Tips should be buried about 2 inches into the soil. If the soil bed is dry, you can water it as needed.
How to Care for Garlic Plants?
Unlike other plants, garlic does not need a lot of care. You just need to weed between the plants and water them regularly. This will reduce any competition for nutrients and water. Garlic plants produce scapes and flowers. Remove these. These can be eaten stir-fried. Tender young garlic scapes are delicious. You can also cut adult garlic scapes that have gone curly and put them in a vase for decoration purposes.
When you notice that the leaves of the plant are growing, feed the plant with a couple of teaspoons of fertilizer to encourage good growth. If you planted it in spring, it will start producing garlic bulbs by the end of June (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D06y-i4Pvf4). By the time you start seeing garlic bulbs, stop watering the plants, and remove any mulch that is still there.
How to Harvest Garlic?
Harvesting garlic is also as easy as growing it.
It is time to harvest when most of the leaves have turned brown. This will usually happen by mid-July or early August. When it is time, slowly and carefully dig up all the bulbs. Make sure that you use a soft hand so that you don’t bruise the bulbs. Leaving the bulbs in the ground for too long will cause them to separate into garlic cloves. They will not store well then (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlsnAwoltBM).
When the bulbs are out, lay them out to dry for at least 2 weeks. Place them in an area with shade and good air circulation. When you notice that roots are becoming dry and brittle, rub them off and that is it. You can either braid the leaves or tie them in bunches. Hang these bunches or braids or store them on slatted shelves or screens in a cool and dry place.
Can I grow garlic from a clove?
Yes, it can easily be grown from a clove. Refer to the information given above to know more.
How long does it take to grow garlic?
Garlic grows in around 8 months if it is grown in fall. If grown in spring, it takes less than 8 months to mature.
How can I grow garlic at home?
Garlic can easily be grown at home. Refer to the information mentioned above.
Can you grow garlic in the water?
You can grow garlic cloves in water if you are only looking for its sprouts. Otherwise, you need to plant it in well-drained soil.
This was everything you need to know about how to grow garlic. Here is a recap and some important tips to follow:
- It should be planted by mid-fall for best results
- It should be planted in well-drained soil
- Cloves should be buried 2 inches into the soil
- Keep a space of at least 8 inches on all sides when planting the cloves
- When harvesting garlic, make sure you keep them in a cool and dry place
Have any questions about growing garlic? Let us know in the comments and we will respond ASAP.