A staple in many kitchens, garlic is now finding itself as a constant crop planted in many gardens. Garlic is incredibly easy to grow and needs little supervision to enjoy a bountiful harvest. Once people start growing it and realize how easy it is, it becomes a standard in their gardening rotation.
These 5 tips will have you growing plenty of your own garlic like a pro in no time!
1. Prep the soil
Garlic, like many other vegetables, grows best in loose, fertile soil. Before planting it's a good idea to work in a generous amount of compost to the soil to add nutrients and organic matter. This will allow the garlic roots to grow easily downward in search of moisture and nutrients.
2. Space accordingly
After the compost has been worked into the garden soil well, it's time to configure plant spacing before planting. Like other garden plants, garlic needs ample room to grow. Boundary Garlic Farm recommends garlic should be planted about 2-3" deep, with 4-8" between plants. To make this process easier create a "plantermajigger" using scrap wood and dowels or use a stick to poke holes in the soil.
After you have the holes formed, it's time to plant! Garlic grows from the individual cloves from a bulb; with each clove growing into its own new plant. Purchase seed garlic from a nursery, online retailer, or seed catalog as the garlic you can buy in the grocery store has been treated to keep it from sprouting. Before planting separate the individual cloves from the head, keeping the largest to plant. Place the basal plate down in the hole (make sure the pointy end is up!) and cover with soil.
4. Cover for the winter
After planting, cover the entire patch with 4-6" of clean, fresh straw. This will retain water and act as an insulator through the winter months. Within a couple weeks you might see the tops of plants start peeking their way through the straw. Just leave them alone and let them hang out all winter! Per Rodale's Organic Life, the plants will stop growing when the soil temperatures drop below a certain point and will resume in the spring.
In the springtime, you can clear off any straw mulch that hasn't decomposed if you want. Continue watering and apply a light fertilizer as temperatures warm up. Your garlic should be ready to harvest in June or July when plants have 5-6 green leaves.