If you use a lot of garlic in the kitchen, I strongly suggest you try growing your own. Here in the Northeast, October is the perfect time to plant garlic.
If you do want to grow your own garlic, you can’t just start with garlic from the store. You need to purchase what is called “seed garlic.” This type of garlic is available from shops that sell items for the home gardener. You can also purchase seed garlic online: in fact, this is a great place to order your garlic as you’ll have many more varieties from which to choose. Just make sure you start with seed garlic that is meant to grow in your region.
When you are ready to plant your garlic, peel the papery skin off the bulb(s) and separate into individual cloves. Each clove will product one garlic plant.
You can keep the smallest cloves for eating…the larger bulbs are the ones you should plant.
Garlic grows best in full sun. You’ll want to plant your garlic in a location with well-drained soil enriched with lots of organic matter. I garden in raised beds, so that’s where my garlic goes.
Plant them root side down (pointy side up) about 2 inches apart in rows that are 4-6 inches apart. Cover with about 2 inches of soil, and when the weather gets cold, top with about 6 inches of mulch to protect your garlic from winter’s wrath.
Bulbs may be harvested when the tops start to dry (typically in late summer). My daughter is a garlic lover and could not wait this long to eat ours…she dug all of our bulbs out and enjoyed them raw starting in late spring.
Garlic must be “cured” for long-term storage. We didn’t have enough left over to store this past summer, but I am planting extra this year so this doesn’t happen again!
For more information on planting garlic, this video is helpful.
–Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen.
Photo credits: Winnie Abramson