How Does My Garden Grow: Garlic

Why I grow it:

  1. I love garlic! I have never been one of those people to shy away from garlic breath. In fact, I’ll probably to the opposite which is shove my nose in your face and then interrogate you about what you just ate and where to find it. There is no such thing in my world as too much garlic.
  2. It is ridiculously easy to grow! If you are thinking about starting a vegetable garden, this is a great beginner plant. There isn’t much to it!
  3. It makes pretty flowers in the summer months.IMG_1453
  4. It tastes stronger and better than the store bought stuff (which is true for most everything in the garden).

How to grow it:

  1. Grow it in the fall! Seriously! When you’re done with the rest of your summer garden and closing up shop for the winter, that’s when you plant your garlic. October is the best time. Yes, it will survive the winter. It’s a bulb, just like daffodils and other spring flowers you plant in the fall. Think of it that way and you’ll be great!
  2. Get a head of garlic or two. You can go to the grocery store and buy any run of the mill head. I would suggest at least get something that is marked organic. Or you can buy them from people who specialize in selling garlic to gardeners online or in your local farming community. This year I purchased an organic head of plain old garlic and a head of elephant garlic (for funsies).
  3. Carefully separate each clove but leave the individual husks on.
  4. Pick a section of land that is clear, well tilled, and out of the way from any other projects you may have going on in the garden. MM’s mom taught me to use rocks to make a boarder around the area so I don’t forget where it was. This is a great way to use those bigger rocks we remove from our beds.
  5. Mix in a little bone meal to the soil. This is optional, but hey, if it’s good for spring bulb’s it’s good for garlic!IMG_1576
  6. Plant the cloves about 4 inches apart and 2 inches down.IMG_1577
  7. LEAVE THEM ALONE! Seriously, just forget about them, they know what they’re doing.

How to harvest it:

  1. In July, when most of the leaves have browned, pull them out. No, don’t just use your hands and pull! Their roots are strong and you risk just pulling the stem out and you want to keep the stem. Use a spade to gently get underneath roots and then pull out.
    1. Check the first one you pull out! If it hasn’t formed cloves yet or is really small, don’t pull any more out for another month or so. I made the mistake of this with my elephant garlic. I pulled a couple out in early July and thought they were done even though it was just one giant clove. photo 9 I just pulled the other two out today and discovered they do have cloves and I should have waited.IMG_2291
  2. Rinse off the dirt and store for a week or two in a root cellar (if you’re that fancy) or the garage. Once the bulb and leaves are completely dry, they are ready to use.IMG_1403

What to do with it:IMG_1696

  1. Put it in every meal you make! Duh! It’s garlic!
  2. Braid it and make a pretty and functional decoration for your kitchen.
  3. Pickle the cloves. I have not done this yet but I hear it’s fantastic!

 

Anyone else out there love growing garlic? How does your garlic grow?

 

Disclaimer: This is based simply on what I’ve learned from research and experience in my own garden. I do not consider myself an expert by any means. My garden is in the Pacific Northwest and, due to climate, may be very different from how you grow yours.

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