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Planting Garlic

Posted 9/10/2015 2:37pm by Mindy J. Schwartz.

Fall is garlic planting season.  Our favorite variety, German Extra Hardy, is an easy to grow variety that produces large bulbs with cloves that are easy to peel and offer a pungent heat.  Our planting method is as follows:

  • Mid to late October, lay out your garlic bed.  Break your bulbs of garlic apart into cloves and then lay them out 6" apart either in rows or in a diamond pattern.  
  • Poke each clove into the soil until the tip about 2" below the soil level.  Throw about a teaspoon of bonemeal in with the clove and then cover with soil.  This will help with the establishment of a healthy root system.
  • Mulch for winter with thick straw or leaf mulch.  You may see growth above ground before winter.
  • In spring, hardneck garlic sends up flower stalks called scapes.  Snap these off when they curl over, before they get tough.  They are delicious thrown on the grill, pickled, or used in pesto.  
  • It's time to harvest your garlic when about 3 lower leaves turn brown.  We usually end up harvesting right around the 4th of July.  You don't want to wait too long because the wrapper skins on the bulbs will start to deteriorate and the garlic won't store as long. 
  • Cure your garlic for about 6 weeks (depending on how dry or humid it is) in a shady location with great airflow.  Use a fan if needed.  When tops are dry and make a rustle and skins are papery, trim tops to about 2" above bulb, wipe off outer skin and dirt and trim roots.  Store garlic somewhere for the winter where the temperature won't fluctuate dramatically.  Dry and 40 degrees is ideal, but warmer is ok too.  Just don't bring the garlic from very cool into warm temperature or it will sprout.  

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