Planting garlic is the perfect way to keep your gourmet kitchen (and wallet) stocked all year with this kitchen staple that is used to flavor so many dishes. Fortunately, garlic is easy to grow, even for the beginning gardener.
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Garlic is planted from a single clove which will mature into a bulb that has up to eighteen cloves. Select the largest cloves for planting and be sure that it’s in a location that gets full sun and has well-drained soil.
Garlic is planted in the fall about a month before the first frost and then harvested the next summer. It can be planted in early spring, but the crop will not be as prolific as garlic that has been in the ground throughout the entire winter.
When planting in winter, protect the bulbs by laying down a healthy layer of leaf or straw mulch.
Plant garlic near your roses and both will thrive.
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Garlic will grow well in average garden soil as it is well drained, and the plants don't often need watering unless there's a dry spell.
Too much water may cause the bulbs to rot. They should not be watered after the summer solstice, as this is when the bulb is maturing.
After the last spring frost, remove the straw or leaf mulch and replace it with compost in order to encourage growth. Side dressing the garlic with compost when the soil warms in the spring will also help to encourage larger bulbs.
Garlic should be harvested when the first six leaves of the plant turn yellow to brown and die down. Garlic should always be dug up, rather than pulled up, to avoid breaking off the bulb.
Dry out garlic in the sun for a couple of weeks before storing.
Garlic is easy to store as long as it is kept in a dry place with air circulation. It also freezes quite well.
Simply separate the bulbs and store in freezer bags. If you have several months worth of garlic, it's often wise to freeze some and keep some stored in a cool dry place.
Next year's garlic can be grown from a clove, and cloves are usually good until they have dried up or rotted.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Garlic. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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