Fall is the time to plant garlic. Here are some tips to make next summer’s garlic harvest a bountiful one.
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To begin planting garlic obtain garlic stock from a reputable nursery. The garlic bulbs in grocery stores are not suitable for growing and may also be treated with a sprouting inhibitor.
A pound of garlic cloves can produce 7 to 10 pounds of mature cloves the following summer.
Garlic needs about 8 months to grow to maturity. Spring planted garlic will produce garlic but much smaller bulbs will be obtained.
Choose a site that gets full sun.
Remove all weeds from the bed.
Dig bed to a depth of 8 to 12 inches, and add plenty of compost to ensure the cloves good fertility, drainage and moisture retention.
Plant the cloves about six weeks before the soil freezes. In the northern areas plant in October or early November. In the south, plant in January or February.
Break apart the garlic bulbs and plant only the largest cloves from the bulbs.
Set the unpeeled cloves, pointy end up about 2 inches deep and 5 inches apart.
Top-dress the plants with compost, and mulch to retain moisture and deter weeds.
Mulch with 6 to 12 inches of straw or grass clippings after the ground freezes to protect plants from the cold.
The roots will begin to grow even though top growth may not be seen in late fall and winter.
In the spring water the new plants if necessary. Garlic needs an inch of water a week.
To ensure large bulbs, cut back any flower stalks that develop to the base of the stalk. This directs the plants energy to bulb formation instead of seed production.
When the leaves turn yellow and fall over dig up the garlic bulbs. Cure by drying in a well ventilated area.
Store braided garlic or garlic bulbs with tops cut off. Garlic keeps well for up to eight months if kept in a dry and cool area.
Marilyn Pokorney is a freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. She also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website: https://www.apluswriting.net