Saturday, November 12, 2011

Easy to Grow Garlic

According to the AgriLife Extension Planting Guide mid September through November is garlic planting time.

Planting Guide PDF: 

Garlic is very easy to plant and grow, but be prepared to give up space in your garden for a long time.  Garlic will take about 8 months until it’s ready for harvest.  That means if planted in November, harvest will be in June.  That’s quite a time commitment.

If your garden is small and you don’t want to give up the space for such a long time, consider planting your garlic in your ornamental beds.  Select a sunny spot amongst your shrubs, perennials, or annuals and interplant your garlic with these other plants.  An old wives tale, indicates that planting garlic around rose bushes will protect them from insects and diseases.  I don’t know if that’s true, but it might be fun to try. 

Wherever you decide to plant your garlic, separate the individual garlic cloves in the bulb leaving the papery covering intact.

When planting garlic, place the clove in the hole vertically with the flat side down and the pointy tip up.

Space the cloves 4-6 inches apart.  

Plant each clove about 1-2 inches deep.  A dibble is very handy for this purpose, but if you don’t have one, you can improvise by using the handle of a trowel or even a stick.

Don't forget to fertilize your garlic.  I like to prepare my bed with a slow release organic fertilizer, and then follow-up with a fish emulsion and liquid seaweed drench every 2 weeks.

When garlic is ready to harvest in late spring, the tops will yellow and fall over.  Harvested garlic needs to be cured, so tie your bulbs together and hang them in a dry, shady spot for about 2 weeks.  

When your ready to bring your garlic into the house, gently brush off the excess soil and cut off the tops.  Garlic will store well in mesh or paper bags.  A good trick to store onions and garlic is to use old pantyhose, which you can hang in your panty.

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