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To grow your own garlic won’t require a degree in horticulture. It’s easy. In this guide, we’ll give you three easy steps to grow your own garlic.
Better still, when you do it the way we suggest, you’ll virtually have garlic all year round.
And that’s a good thing. As someone who works behind the scenes in the massive supermarket business, I’ve seen the price of garlic escalate drastically in the past few years.
I’m not sure why it’s rising in price. There is an easy fix.
Grow your own.
So let’s get started. Before long, you’ll have enough garlic not just for yourself, but for your family and friends as well.
How To Grow Your Own Garlic
While garlic is a tough vegetable, it still needs a little protection when growing it.
Firstly, I’ve called garlic a vegetable. Is it a vegetable or a herb?
I’m going with the Botanical classification which you can check by clicking here.
Many consider it a herb and maybe it is but this is not the time to start a debate on this topic. We’ve got some garlic to grow!
It will pay to cover your garlic with mulch right after planting. This helps to keep the weeds at bay as well as providing insulation.
So, with that out of the way, let’s begin.
Choosing The Right Garlic To Grow
This is very important.
It will depend where you live and what your climate is. There are two varieties which come under the banner of soft neck or hardneck.
Which one do you choose? The soft neck is a milder type of garlic and in the end, it’s your preference.
But the best tip is to only buy garlic for planting from your local garden center. Why? Because it’s almost guaranteed they will have the garlic that’s perfect for your area.
Whatever variety you choose, the likelihood it’s going to suit your climate, whether cold, wet, dry or cold, is strong.
So head to your local garden center, and tell them you want to grow your own garlic. You may not even need this guide as they will likely provide you with all the information you need.
How To Plant Your Garlic
What’s the best time of the year to grow garlic? Good question. In the fall or autumn.
While garlic is hardy, in cold climates, it will struggle if you are planting it outside in the cold past the fall. So plant it at least six weeks before the ground freezes.
In warmer climates you’ll have no such problem but again, stick to the fall for planting.
Before you put your garlic cloves in the ground, here is some important information about the soil you will grow it in.
Garlic generally likes neutral ground although some acidity in it won’t hurt. So whether you’re planting in an outside garden or in an indoor vegetable container, keep this in mind.
Make sure the soil is loose, almost sandy as this will give the bulb less resistance when growing.
You can also add an extra layer of organic topping to the soil along with a mulch covering.
The soil you use needs to be well draining. If you follow the earlier step and use loose soil, then this will be the case.
If you are in a cold climate, it will help by storing the cloves for up to three months in a chilled environment. Again, ask your local garden expert about this.
Depending how big your container is, plant the bulbs at least 3-4 inches deep and about 4-5 inches apart.
This will depend on the area’s climate. The colder the climate, the deeper you plant it. Make sure the narrow end of the bulb faces upwards.
Finally, garlic loves the full sun. Make sure the bed is free of tree cover. If you are growing garlic inside, place it on a window sill that gets swamped with sunlight every day.
Watering Your Garlic
Watering your garlic during the early stages, that’s the first month, is important.
We suggest about an inch of water a week. That is, an inch combined from both rain and manual irrigation. In warmer climates, you can double or even triple this.
For inside projects, just make sure the soil is moistened enough when you water but again, about an inch a week will be fine.
Grow Your Own Garlic – Caring For It
Water is important, but so is making sure the garlic bed is free from weeds.
While garlic can offer a one-two punch to a vampire, it’s achilles heel are weeds. It doesn’t share too well.
One way to keep weeds at bay is mulching. Of course this will depend on the size of your garlic bed. Inside garden beds can easily be weeded by hand. Actually, so can outside beds.
The mulching is more a preventative measure to inhibit weed growth so make sure you mulch from the beginning.
Fertilizing your garlic garden is another important maintenance aspect. Garlic doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. When you first plant it, add about an inch or two of compost into the ground.
That should suffice but many gardeners will follow up in the spring by putting some extra compost at the base of individual plants as they grow.
Growing Your Own Garlic – What Else Do You Need To Know?
That’s about it. Garlic is a hardy vegetable that doesn’t need to be fussed over.
One thing that will make you happy is that the use of pesticides is limited. In fact, with garlic, it’s basically non existent.
Garlic is a repellent to pests. They stay away from garlic beds in droves. And that includes large ones too such as deer.
Actually, some savvy gardeners who have large vegetable beds will grow their garlic around the perimeter of the garden. It was like growing a shield around the garden.
That’s something my parents did when growing up on our farm. They were Italian migrants who brought their garden skills with them and this was a trick they said they were taught growing up.
And no one would know more about the intricacies of growing garlic more that us Italians right?
Don’t be too anxious to harvest your produce. When you grow your own garlic it is normal to get a little impatient.
Once again, this depends on the climate. In warmer areas, you could harvest as early as late July but generally, it’s late August to late September.
You’ll know when your garlic is ready to harvest. The leafy stems of the plant will turn yellow and disintegrate.
Storing your garlic shouldn’t be complicated. When you have carefully dug them out, make sure the stems are kept intact.
My parents would tie the stems together and place them in a shady ventilated area that provided dryness and warmth.
After a month, they were ready to store the garlic in a more permanent place. Don’t forget, save a few bulbs for your next garlic growing project.