Growing Garlic

Garlic is my favorite crop. Garlic planting is best done in the fall when other gardening chores aren’t vying for top priority. It only has to be purchased once because it is so easy to set a few bulbs aside from the summer harvest for fall planting. Softneck and hardneck are the two garlic categories. Softneck is easy to braid and stores longer than hard neck. It’s cloves are small, mild and somewhat difficult to peel. Hardneck’s larger, stronger tasting and easy to peel cloves do not store as well. Hardneck also provides tasty scapes for a garlicy treat early in the season. Both types make excellent garlic powder.
Garlic isn’t only for cooking. There are health benefits, too. Modern studies have shown garlic have antibiotic and antioxidant properties. When added to molasses, it makes a vermifuge that is adequate at keeping my sheep free from parasites.
Our small 8′ x 5′ bed yielded 135 heads that were harvested in early July. That left us plenty of time to replant the bed with green beans that were still giving us fresh meals in September with several quarts put by for winter.

How to Plant Garlic

1. Prepare the bed or row. Garlic likes rich, sandy loam with organic matter deeply incorporated. The soil should be soft so it is easy to push the cloves in.
2. Open the head and choose the biggest cloves for planting. The bigger the clove, the bigger the bulb will be.
3. Space 3″-6″ apart and 3″ deep with the pointed end up. A dibble speeds up the planting time.
4. Cover with a thin layer of mulch.

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