A species in the onion genus, Allium, garlic is one of the most loved and common seasonings worldwide that we get to see. A native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran, garlic has always gathered appreciation due to its wonderful flavor and excellent medicinal usages. To get the maximum levels of allicin in your garlic that is responsible for most of the garlic’s health benefits, you really need to know how to grow garlic at home. Firstly, let us tell you that, it is pretty easy to grow them in your vegetable garden. Garlic is planted in the fall season and you harvest it in early summer. You do not really need to be a pro-gardener to know how to grow garlic in your home garden. Just you need some passion and enthusiasm. Plus homegrown garlic tastes amazingly better than the market-bought ones. So if you wish to add this healthy vegetable to your garden, you need to give today’s post a quick read.
There are generally two varieties of garlic – hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. If you live in a relatively cooler climatic region, you should grow hardneck garlic. These have stronger flavors and larger cloves contrary to the softneck ones which have smaller cloves and milder flavors. But with care, you can nearly grow any type of garlic according to your choice. No matter what variety of garlic you want to grow or no matter where you want to grow it, this post will put an end to your confusion if you are struggling to know about how to grow garlic.
How To Grow Garlic At Home: Step By Step Guideline You Need To Follow:
Choosing The Garlic:
Organic garlic bulbs are what you need to grow a good garlic plant. Do not buy those chemical sprayed bulbs that are harmful to your health. Get garlic that has larger cloves. Soft cloved bulbs are not a great choice when you are trying to grow plants from them. So choose fresh farm-grown hard and high-quality garlic. Note that, each clove of your garlic bulb will sprout into a garlic plant. So collect cloves accordingly.
When To Plant Garlic:
You can plant garlic either in autumn or in the spring. The mid or late -autumn garlic turns to be of large cloves. They will develop their root system during the fall-winter months and will have leaves by the time it is spring. And you can harvest the garlic in the summer of the following year. Garlic can withstand a wide range of climates and whether you are living in the northern portion of the USA or the southern portion, you can plant harvest with equal ease.
Where To Plant Your Garlic Cloves:
Now that you have sourced your garlic cloves and have decided on the time, it is time to know how to grow garlic. And for that, you first have to settle on a piece of land where you will prepare the soil and plant your cloves.
Choose a planting spot that gets abundant sunlight. Do not choose an area where water-logging might occur. A ground that has a good drainage system is the best choice when you are wondering how to grow garlic.
Sandy loam soil that is light in weight is the best option for planting garlic cloves. Your soil’s pH level should be between 6.5 to 7. Do a soil test before-hand. Soil that has a good drainage system is best for growing perfectly healthy garlic plants. Enrich the nutrient profile of your soil by adding additional manure and compost if needed. Mulch well to hinder the growth of weeds.
They grow great on raised beds as well. Raised beds are better as they provide good drainage and keep pests away. In case of garlic plantation, make your beds 2 to 3 feet wide and they must have a height of 10 to 12 inches. You can add worm castings, humus, well-rotted manure or blood and bone to your soil. Mix your fertilizers with your soil very well before you start planting the cloves.
The best thing to remember when you are trying to learn how to grow garlic is that garlic does not like soil that is too wet or too dry. Also, you should avoid a place where it is snowing.
Preparing The Cloves:
As we stated earlier, you need large garlic bulbs that are hard enough. Gently remove the large cloves from the garlic head. Be careful not to break any part of the clove, especially the part that is adjoined to the base. The broken garlic clove won’t grow. Also, you should only plant the large cloves that are arranged at the outer side of the bulb. The inner side of the bulb has smaller cloves that you can use for cooking purposes. The problem with the smaller bulbs is that they occupy a big space on the ground but give birth to smaller bulbs. So you need to plant larger cloves, no matter what. Do not remove the shell from your cloves. Make sure that, your cloves have no cuts and bruises. They welcome rot and your plant does not grow healthy.
Planting The Cloves:
Now comes the planting part which is the main thing you need to learn when it comes to talking about how to grow garlic. You should plant the cloves 6 to 8 inches apart and the tip part should be in an upward direction. If you are planting them in two or three rows, keep one foot of space between two rows. Press them for about 2 inches into the soil and then cover them with the soil. Now it is the time to cover them with mulch. If you live in a cold dry region, the mulch should be thicker. A good covering of water, hay, straw, dry shredded leaves, and clipped grass is recommended. After you have planted the cloves, cover them again with fertilizers.
Occasionally water the soil to maintain the moisture level. One of the most important things to know about how to grow garlic is how to take care of the plants. For garlic, it is really simple and you do not need to do much. For the good development of the root system, you need to water your plant in order to keep it moist. But do not overwater it. You just need to keep it moist. Don’t drown your plant as it will rot the plant and it will just die. When it is not raining for long days, only then water your plant. And as the warmer month approaches, slowly reduce the amount of watering.
At the initial growing phase, for at least two months, the plant requires cold temperatures. This allows the root system to develop properly. When the bulbs are just beginning to form, it requires cool temperature. When the bulbs start to mature, they prefer warm and hot weather. Make sure that you plant your autumn cloves a minimum of 2 and a half months before the first freeze as it will get enough time to develop the root system.
Know About The Companion Plants:
While learning about how to grow garlic, it is important to note its companion plants. Do you know what companion plants are? Companion plants are those which help in the growth of other plants and provide nutrients, shades, and support to each other. They also together repel pests and make a mutually symbiotic relationship that helps each of them to grow. In the case of garlic, some of the best companion plants will be strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, cabbages, broccoli, kale, roses, and also onions.
Organic fertilizers that are moderately rich in nitrogen are best for garlic plants. For side-dressing, a light application of blood meal is enough. Adding the compost to the planting bed twice a year is okay.
Some More Tips On How To Grow Garlic:
- If you live in a region where it snows in winter, make sure to cover your cloves with straw, leaves, and hay before it starts to freeze outside.
- After the winter has gone away, remove those straw and leaves.
- Your planting bed must be weed-free.
- If you see any flower blossoming out at an early stage, do not hesitate to pull it away and remove it off. It will send signals to the plant that it just needs to concentrate on developing the bulb and nothing more. At a later stage, let the stalks and flower go.
- Generally, garlic foliage stops growing around the summer solstice and only the bulbs keep on growing.
You need to wait for the right time of harvest. We mean what is the fruitfulness of knowing how to grow garlic if you don’t know much about when to harvest it and get the best garlic bulbs in your hand. The right time to harvest your garlic is when the leaves of the plant have turned yellow or brown. Garlic bulbs are generally ready to harvest when it is late spring or summer. Notice the signs. The leaves will turn brownish and the flower stems will become softer.
To be more sure, you can do one thing. Just pull back the soil around one bulb and notice if you can find definite cloves in a bulb. If they are well defined and hard enough, it is the time to harvest them. Don’t wait for too long after that.
Loosen the soil around each bulb and then gently bring the bulbs out. Leave your bulbs like that for complete two weeks so that they can cure. Do not immediately wash them after harvesting them. This will longer the curing time and the cloves may also rot.
Storing Your Garlic:
Well in today’s topic of how to grow garlic, it is the last necessary thing that you need to know about. For the proper storage of your garlic, first, you need to cure your garlic. Hang the bunches loose at 60° to 90°. After the bulbs have completely been cured, you can wash them off and trim away excess leaves and roots. Now for storing you can use dry mesh bags. This way your bulbs will last for up to 6 to 8 months.
You can also peel the cloves and store them in an airtight container and keep that in the freezer. Another popular way of storing garlic cloves is to storing them in oil or vinegar. Keep them in a jar soaked in oil or vinegar and refrigerate the jar. Consume quickly. You should not keep garlic-in-oil at room temperature.
So these were all the things that you need to know when you are trying to learn how to grow garlic in your garden successfully. Now enjoy your own garden-raised flavorful garlic and reap all its health benefits.