How To Grow Garlic In 5 Steps
Our Garlic Patch
In our research of how to grow garlic we found that it sounded simple and wanted to see for ourselves if it really was. As always we are sharing from our personal experience in growing our own foods to eat, save and sell to others. This year we decided to take a 40×40′ area of our property and grow 3 different kinds of hardneck garlic: Georgia Crystal, German Red & Northern White. Chef’s around the world love these varieties for their large cloves and excellent flavor! We are filling orders now. CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Step 1: How To Grow Garlic – Get The Seed
First off we bought beautiful seed garlic from 3 different local/organic growers. Garlic growers save back their largest bulbs from harvest and sell or replant to get the biggest and best harvest next year! Seed garlic can be purchased for $14-28 per pound depending on the seller and time of season. We were late in the season and were lucky to even find seed garlic at all. We paid top dollar because of this but after harvest we see that it was well worth the investment in great seed stock!
If you are looking for excellent organic seed garlic or garlic for consumption click here.
Preparing the Seed for planting: Crack & Soak Each Clove
How to plant garlic without having to worry about pests, fungus, etc… 24-48 hours before you are ready to plant your garlic – crack the cloves from the bulb and separate them. Dip them in a bowl with 1 gallon water & 4 cups cheap vodka for a few minutes. This will help prevent fungus, molds etc.
Step 2: How To Grow Garlic – Planting The Clove
Most garlic varieties need planted in mid to late October. Prepare your soil by cultivating it and plant each clove – foot down – into the soil about 3-5 inches below soil. The “foot” of the garlic clove is the bottom part of the clove that was attached to the bulb, where the roots will grow. Every individual clove will produce one garlic bulb. Cover the clove and gently pat down the soil. Plant each clove 6-8″ apart. The further away the better chance of growing larger bulbs. Once you have planted you can mulch the beds to protect them from Winter frost and then leave them till spring! Simple…
We planted 6″ apart, mulched with 3″ of leaves and had a wonderful yeild – 12 times what we planted! The bulbs that were spaced further apart grew much larger than those closer together.
Step 3: How To Grow Garlic – Water, Weed, Work
Spring is here and now is time to pay attention to your garlic planting. Garlic likes moist soil but not wet soil. Water enough to keep the soil moist, then let dry completely before next watering. This Spring was very wet so we spent more time weeding than watering. Garlic does NOT like weeds. Keeping your plot free of weeds will also increases bulb size and yield.
Step 4: How To Grow Garlic – Scape & Watch
The Scapes Are On
Our garden is at 1100′ elevation in a very hot, dry climate so we scaped in mid May which was about 3-4 weeks earlier than other farmers around our area. A beautiful garlic flower called a scape grows off the main shoot of every garlic plant. This Scape will curl once or twice and then you pick it off to set the nutrition back to the bulb for a few weeks before harvest time.
We waited for most scapes to curl 2 times before we scaped. You simply snap the scape off at the top of the shoot where the last leaves are and then you can use the scapes in pesto, saute’s, salads etc or sell them by the pound. They are excellent in Asian dishes. I made a huge batch of pesto and froze it in small batches to use throughout the year.
It is very important not to over water after scaping. Once the plant is scaped all the nutrition is spent producing a nice big bulb with large cloves. Too much water could cause fungus, cloves breaking through the skin – which will cause storage issues and the possibility of disease. Too little water will produce small bulbs. We had 2 wet weeks after scaping and were very worried about fungus and possible cracked skins.
Step 5: How To Grow Garlic – Harvest & Hang
Yahoo…now it’s time to harvest. Once the bottom 2 leaves are dying back or brown, it is time to harvest. As I’m sure you’ve read, there is no perfect science as to exactly when to harvest garlic, so we gave it our best guess. We had a window of 2 dry days and went for it. The bottom 2 leaves were dying back, the garlic was scaped 2 1/2 weeks prior and the ground was still far to moist but we were afraid to let it go another day.
On June 25th, 2013 we harvested 1200 pounds of garlic. You have to be very careful with the bulbs and can not just wrench them out of the ground like onions. My husband dug one bulb at a time as the boys and I loaded them carefully into the truck to go hang for drying.
Because of the moisture we had to get the dirt off the bulbs by hand as well. This really added to our harvest time and made things difficult because garlic can bruise and once bruised you need to use it for personal use rather than sell it.
All the dirt was off every bulb, we through out 30 bulbs total due to some strange spotting, but other than that 99.9% of our harvest was amazing & ready to cure for 3-6 weeks in our barn.
Once you harvest garlic you must hang it to cure for 3-6 weeks depending on weather. We tied groups of 6-8 bulbs together and hung them over dowels to dry. We had quite a little factory line and it went very quickly.
I hope this information helps you grow great garlic!
Learning how to grow garlic is pretty straight forward.
TAKING ORDERS FOR GARLIC SEED NOW!
CLICK HERE TO ORDER: or Email us direct at email@example.com and we will be happy to help you have a successful season.