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I take my box of keeper cloves (how we decide which cloves to eat and which to save for planting will be in the following posts) down to the garden.
I plant the cloves about 6 inches apart, with 8 inches between the rows. I pushed each of the cloves a couple of inches below the soil surface.
You can see the individual cloves in the picture above because I like to try and get the rows nice and straight, so I don’t push them down and put the soil on top of them until I am finished planting them all. I use the planted ones as markers.
I was able to plant 288 cloves in that space! That’s a LOT of garlic, but we love it roasted and we often have 2 whole heads of garlic between us at dinner time. We also love making Bacon Wrapped Garlic Bites – so yummy as an appetizer!
If you cook the garlic, it is a lot milder than if you eat it raw and it’s so healthy for you!
Back to the planting….
Mulch the whole bed with straw once the temperatures get down around freezing. Our temperatures are cold on Fall mornings and maybe close to freezing overnight.
Once planted, all you have to do is weed it regularly during the growing season. One of the reasons I plant my Garlic tightly is that it reduces the weeds that come up.
So to get the Garlic in the ground and ready for Winter, it is just a matter of planting the cloves, covering them with soil, then covering them with a good layer of mulch. You could use straw, grass clippings or leaves.
During the Fall, your Garlic may start to grow and get a few inches of green leaf on them before Winter sets in. You don’t need to do anything to them – just wait for them to appear in Spring.
In the Spring the Garlic bulbs will continue to grow. While the green leaves are growing above the soil, the Garlic bulb is growing below the soil. Water it every few days and keep any weeds out.
In early summer, you will see the Garlic Scape forming and coming out from the center of the growing stalk. Every Garlic plant will send out one Scape. As they grow, they start to curl and they look great on the dinner plate cooked whole. Can you see the Scapes?
Before you know it, you’ll have lots of Scapes to harvest – just cut them off at the base of the Scape using a knife. I usually just snap them off, it’s much faster.
If you want nice big garlic heads, you MUST take the scapes off. This directs the energy into the bulb below ground, and it will then grow bigger.
Don’t just toss those Scapes onto your compost pile. They taste great!
Garlic is very easy to grow and hardly takes any room at all. Every garden should have some garlic growing in it! Freshly dug Garlic tastes nothing like the store bought Garlic you see in the produce section.
You can find good healthy Garlic by buying some at your local Farmer’s Market – ask if it was grown locally. Just remember you need 1 clove per plant, so buy accordingly. There are roughly 6 – 8 cloves on one head of garlic.
I’m already thinking of how to expand this bed for next years harvest!
Part 2 of the Garlic series is called “How to Make Pickled Garlic Scapes”
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