How to plant garlic
It is October and believe it or not - now is the time to plant garlic! It is also time to put your garden to bed for the winter, so it is very easy to plant some garlic at the same time. Garlic needs to lie dormant over the cool winter in order to grow the shoots needed to develop into a whole head of garlic come spring and summer. There are many different types to chose from - make sure you consider weather and flavor in your decision.
After I pull my summer vegetables up from the garden I use my garden claw to break up the dirt in the areas that I plan to plant garlic. Breaking up the soil well will help the garlic to grow better, as well as provide good drainage. Soil that drains well is very important in growing your own garlic. Raised beds work very well for garlic. It is best to rotate crops, so if you planted garlic last year, locate it somewhere else this year.
After breaking up the soil well it is time to plant your garlic. Break a head of garlic into individual cloves, the larger the clove the better. Plant each clove a couple of inches deep, at least 4 inches apart from other cloves. Stand the cloves up straight, making sure the root end is down. I live in an area that has very cold winters, so I will cover my garlic beds with a thick layer of leaves or straw. For those in a milder climate it might not be necessary.
Once it warms up in the spring and the days start getting longer the garlic underground will really come to life. Make sure that you keep the area weed free and fertilize it every few weeks. Water is very important for garlic in the spring. Keep the area well mulched if there is a dry spell to help hold moisture. Water yourself if need be.
Garlic is ready to be harvested in the summer, in my area it is early July, when the tops die off. Pull up the garlic very carefully, you will want to rinse off the bulbs, roots and all. Then the garlic will need to dry for a couple of weeks - not in the sunlight though, as it will burn. Once it is dry you can trim off the roots and braid the tops together. Hang the braids of garlic in a cool, dry place and they should last many months. Growing garlic is fairly easy and is one of the vegetables that you can harvest in early summer, making it a favorite around here.
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