Maximum Living Garlic
If you’re like me and love the taste of garlic, then make this the year to grow your own. It’s easy, fun and best of all rewarding. Even though it is a bulbous vegetable, I still think of it as an herb that gives back more than it takes.
If you source your garlic clove starts from bulbs you buy at the store, just be careful to check that the cloves do not have a fungus on them.
To plant garlic separate the cloves from the bulb and space 4-6 inches apart. Plant pointed side up, blunt side down, at about 5-6 inches deep. They can be planted in pots, containers, raised beds or directly into the ground. It is important to note that your soil needs to be fertile and well drained. Work your soil before planting with a good compost and a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (I like to use blood meal as it is a great source of organic nitrogen). Your fertilizer choice should also have a high potassium number as this helps to yield large garlic bulbs.
To care for your garlic as it is growing, it is important to cut off the false seed heads they produce, otherwise known as “SCAPES”. They are a much-loved ingredient for many chefs but they will zap the energy from the bulb resulting in reduced size at harvest.
Planting in September or October will give you the perfect growing season for a June/July harvest. You will know when it is time to harvest as the leaves will start to turn brown. Wait for at least one third to one half of the leaves to turn before you dig up the bulb.
Have fun this year and try something new, and you will see by planting garlic that maybe you actually have an undiscovered green thumb.
You Can Do It!