Interested in Growing Garlic?

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You've come to the right place. Growing garlic requires well tilled, well drained soil. Unlike most vegetables, garlic is generally planted in the late fall. It is usually reserved for traditional vegetable gardens. Garlic can be grown in containers. However, quite a few containers would be needed if more than a few heads of garlic were desired.

In our own garden, we typically plant a couple of hundred seed cloves every year.  We do this because we use an awful lot of garlic throughout the year, both in cooking and when we make hot sauce.  We also like to throw a couple of cloves into every jar of pickles that we make.  And let's not forget all the minced garlic we use when making a couple of dozen jars of salsa.  We love the taste of garlic, be it simply rubbed on a piece of toast or used in any one of a thousand recipes.

Bowl of Garlic Cloves

Garlic is a member of the allium family, which also includes such root vegetables as onions, shallots and leeks. However, unlike these other vegetables, garlic seed cloves need to be exposed to freezing weather AFTER they are planted. This helps them form nice, big bulbs with lots of cloves. If they aren't exposed to freezing weather for at least a few days, the usual result is poorly formed bulb that generally consists of just one or two giant, malformed cloves.

Garlic is not planted from seed, but rather from individual garlic cloves. Each clove will produce a single plant with a single head of garlic. The garlic head is made up of several garlic cloves clustered together. Each of these cloves can be separated from the head and re-planted, creating more and more heads of garlic. This process makes raising garlic a self-sustaining endeavor.

When most people think of garlic, they think of the white bulbs that can be braided together.  These are usually softneck garlic varieties and they are the varieties most often found in most grocery stores and supermarkets.  Hardneck garlic produces scapes and has a hard stem running through the middle of the bulb.  Most hardneck varieties only produce bulbs that have 8 or so cloves that grow in a single layer around the hard center stem.  This is in contrast to the softneck varieties, which produce bulbs that have 14 or so cloves that grow in layers around the soft center stem.

In our own garden, we typically plant our garlic just before Thanksgiving.  We usually plant several different varieties, with most being softneck types and a couple being hardneck types.  For us, storage is a big consideration for which varieties we grow.  We always grow Silver White for one of our softneck varieties and we typically can keep it in our root cellar for 10-12 months.  We love the mild taste and slight spice from this variety.  We usually braid it and hang it on hooks next to whatever hot peppers we decide to air dry.  We also usually grow Music, which is a variety of hardneck garlic.  Again, we like this variety because it stores well and it has a great flavor that we really like.  We usually can keep Music for 10-12 months before it starts to go soft.  We typically pack the heads in mesh bags and hang them on hooks.  We also use the garlic we grow to make hot sauce

Quick Overview of Growing Garlic

Planting:  Plant seed cloves 2 inches deep, 6 inches apart in rows spaced 2 feet apart, usually in fall after the first hard freeze

Watering:  Keep soil evenly moist but not wet after the ground thaws in the spring

Fertilizing:  Apply balanced fertilizer every 6 weeks or so at half the rate recommended by the manufacturer

Harvesting:  Dig garlic when plants turn brown or when there are only 4 green leaves left

Recipes:  Garlic can be used raw, sauteed, roasted, pickled, etc...

Garlic has a wide range of applications. It is used as an ingredient in a wide variety of Spanish, French, Italian, Mexican, and Mediterranean recipes. Because it's used in so many recipes, most home cooks keep a head or two of garlic on hand in the kitchen.  Additionally, garlic has also been used for several medicinal and practical applications. It has been said that raw garlic can prevent acne and repel mosquitoes. It also has antibacterial properties and has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries.

Garlic contains a fair amount of sugar, which will caramelize if roasted in the oven. Cloves can be left whole or sliced, crushed, minced or diced. Garlic is a hearty vegetable that can easily be dried and stored for months on end.

The following links will tell you everything you need to know about growing garlic...

Growing Garlic Plants

Click here to learn about planting garlic

Click here for information about different garlic varieties

Click here to learn about watering and fertilizing garlic plants

Click here for information about harvesting garlic

Click here for some garlic recipe ideas

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