Growing garlic can be ridiculously easy if you know just a little bit about what you are doing and how to care for growing things. But in case you need them, here are some tips on how to grow garlic on your own.
You will first need to decide what type of garlic to plant. There are two specific types of garlic. They is hardneck and softneck garlic. Where you live will determine what type you plant. Softneck varieties grow well in most climates and are good for hot, dry areas. Hardneck varieties are good for cooler climates.
You’ll want to find an organic grower and purchase several heads of garlic of different varieties. Keep them labeled and separate so you can distinguish what you plant easily.
Open the heads of garlic, and select the largest and most intact cloves for planting. Smaller or damaged cloves can be used for cooking. Depending on how much garlic you consume, plan to plant enough cloves to sustain your use. One clove will grow one new head of garlic. For the best results, plan to get your garlic in the ground a few weeks before the first freeze.
The soil preparation and maintenance is the most important part of growing garlic. Garlic is a very greedy plant and will not tolerate competition with any type of weeds, so be prepared to mulch heavily and weed when needed. The soil should be loose and very fertile. Turn and aerate the soil well and then top with one to two inches of natural fertilizer such as aged manure, compost or leaf mold. Mix in the fertilizer and lay out rows that are six to twelve inches apart. A healthy garlic plant can have a root span of up to six inches, so when you place the cloves in the soil, place them a good ten inches apart. Push the cloves into the soil to a depth of two inches. Rake over the soil to even it out and leave the plants for about a month with regular watering when the soil is dry one inch down.
Prepare for winter
You may see some small shoots before that first month is up. That’s OK. Give your garden area a dose of liquid kelp and fish emulsion as extra fertilizer. Follow the package directions for mixture and amounts. Cover your garlic with a heavy coat of straw or mulch and prepare for winter.
In the summer, you will notice the leaves of the garlic start to turn brown. This is when you harvest. Use a gardening fork to loosen the root and remove it from the ground. Shake gently and set aside out of the sun. Find a shady, cool spot to cure the garlic for about three weeks for long term storage. Your garlic should be storable and edible for six to twelve months.