Here are some tips to help you grow the most flavorful and prolific garlic.
Garlic prefers rich, well drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or an all-purpose organic fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package.
Choose an area that gets full sun. Break the head apart into individual cloves by placing the bulb on its side on a hard surface and pressing down firmly with the heel of your hand. Sow unpeeled cloves 2″ deep and 6-10″ apart with the pointed end facing up.
Mulch soon after planting and keep planting area weeded. In spring, once garlic begins to grow, fertilize lightly with chicken manure, seedmeal or compost. Remove the tops, or scapes, from stems of hardneck garlic. The harvested scapes are great for cooking!
Garlic likes soil that is kept evenly moist during the growing season.
Harvest bulbs when about 40 percent of the leaves have died back. Begin watching plants in mid summer, as harvest time will vary from year to year. You may need to use a digging fork to loosen soil before picking. Immediately brush soil from the roots (be gentle). Do not wash the garlic.
Cure garlic indoors, in a cool, ventilated area, away from sunlight. Garlic may be tied or braided in bundles of 8-12 plants and hung up for drying, or laid out in a single layer on screens or slatted shelves. For braiding softneck garlic: let plants cure for about two weeks. For hardneck garlic: after two weeks of drying, cut off stems and trim the roots by half. Do not remove papery outer skins as these inhibit sprouting and help preserve the cloves.
Garlic should be stored in a cool, dry area with good air circulation, out of direct sunlight.
Next year plant your Garlic in the fall and overwinter it! Garlic will handle any weather winter brings and you’ll have a nice harvest ready in June – just in time to plant your Basil!
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