This is the simplest garden chore there is! So easy to plant in the Fall and the first to pop up in the garden in the Spring.
Garlic is ALWAYS in our home. I use it for almost every main dish I make (Italian in me). Not to mention the health benefits and the home remedies I use it for. Want to stay healthy? Eat a clove every other day. LOL. Yes, you read right.
Fall is the time to plant garlic, at least I do! Garlic is sensitive to day length and matures during the longest days of summer. Fall planting gives garlic an early start on the growing season. And it is nice to see the first shoots come up so early in the spring.
Garlic is extremely easy to grow. But prepare the soil properly. Garlic likes deeply cultivated, well-drained, rich soil with a pH of 6.4-6.8. You can add 2 inches of compost and some well-rotted manure to the planting bed.
Separate the cloves no more than 48 hours before planting to keep them from drying out. The largest cloves will produce the biggest bulbs. Plant individual cloves, peels intact, pointy end up, 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. Mulch with some straw about 3 inches deep. Your garlic will form roots but little or no top growth before the ground freezes solid.
Early next spring it will be ready to grow, sending up tiny green shoots as soon as the ground thaws.
Not too many pests bother garlic.
Fertilize the plants every other week from the time shoots emerge in early spring until about June.
Water is critical during the bulb forming stage in early summer so try for an inch a week, including rainfall.
Harvest your garlic around the end of July or early August, when the lower third to half of the leaves have turned brown and wilted but the upper leaves are still green.
Hang bunches of newly harvested garlic to dry in a cool, well ventilated, shady spot for 3-4 weeks to cure. After the leaves, roots, and outer wrappers are completely dry, brush off any loose soil, trim the roots to 1/4 inch, and cut the tops back to an inch or two above the bulb before storing.
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