The beloved ingredient that accentuates flavors, enhances dishes, and adds a striking aroma to all meals! Better than purchasing minced garlic or cloves at the grocery store, is the pleasure that comes with growing your own garlic. The ultimate reward of your hard work is quality, fresh garlic at your fingertips! Utilize it in the kitchen, store it in the freezer, or share it with friends. The best part? Growing garlic is easy with a few notable tips.
Are you trying to growing garlic and struggling to succeed? Are you planning out your garden for the coming season and want to include garlic? There are methods and tricks to growing it properly. Take a look at these five tips for growing garlic and reap the benefits!
1 – Choose the Best Type of Garlic
There are two different types of garlic – hardneck and softneck varieties. The differences between the two are important to understand, to ensure you plant the best garlic for your hardiness zone. Knowing the differences will help you decide what garlic type meets your flavor preferences.
First of all, consider the hardiness zone you live in. Hardneck garlic varieties thrive in colder zones, whereas softnecks (most commonly found in grocery stores) grow best in warmer zones. Both garlics will survive in various climates, however, selecting the one that matches your zone will result in greater success.
The other difference between the two varieties is how long they last in storage. Hardneck garlic does not store well or last as long. Softneck garlic is best for storing, enduring six months in the freezer.
Finally, another difference between the two, that may sway your preference, is the strength of the garlic. Hardneck garlic has a stronger flavor, making it desirable for cooking and achieving the more intense garlic tastes. On the other hand, softneck garlic is known for its milder flavor. Keep this in mind as you select the garlic variety that you want to plant.
2 – Grow Your Unused Garlic
Did you forget to use your garlic cloves from the store and they are now sprouting? Take advantage!
When your unused garlic begins to grow its very own garlic scape, use these cloves to plant more garlic! First peel off the outer skin, planting each clove about four to six inches apart. Use your finger to push them down into the soil and cover them. Ta-da! Your unused garlic is now ready to create new garlic!
Pro Tip: Is your garlic sprouting at the wrong time of the year? Is it too early/late to plant it? There’s a way you can use this to your benefit!
3 – Plant Garlic in the Right Month
Unlike many vegetables that require planting in early spring, garlic is a fall and winter vegetable! Green onions, shallots, white onions, chives, and other members of the allium family grow best during warmer months. Not garlic!
Plant your garlic bulbs when autumn arrives, usually in the middle of October. Garlic plants prefer to wait out the winter in their dormant state. During this time, they prepare and develop until eventually after nine or ten months they are ready for harvest.
Keep in mind that the time to plant garlic varies depending upon your zone. Garlic will grow almost anywhere, and those in zones 5 to 7 are ideal when planting in mid-October. However, if you are in warmer climates, planting in November is better. For colder climates, planting earlier in September allows time for your plant to establish itself before the temperatures drop drastically.
4 – Use a Mulch in Your Garden
To improve the development of your garlic, another great tip is to use a mulch in your garden. Organic mulches such as straw, leaves, grass, and even compost work to protect and promote your garlic plant’s growth.
Laying down mulch will create a barrier between your garlic and the freezing frosts and snows above the soil. Mulch also helps your garlic plant in the warmer months! In spring and summer, it protects your garlic by increasing the moisture in the ground. As well, having mulch in your garden beds prevents the spreading of weeds, keeping your garlic plant safe and happy.
5 – Cut off the Garlic Scape
As your plant matures in the warmer months, it will grow garlic scapes (stems and flowers). These scapes are edible and are great additions to soups, omelettes, meats, and other dinner dishes. If the scapes of your garlic plant are free to grow, flowers will form, which are also edible!
Even if you choose not to consume these parts, cut your garlic plant scapes off anyways. Trimming the garlic scape encourages your plant to focus its energy on increasing the size and health of the bulb. If your goal is to produce plump, fragrant garlic, then cut off those garlic scapes!
It’s important to note that only harneck garlic will produce scapes.
Grow, Garlic, Grow!
Growing garlic is easy, and with the aid of these five tips, healthy garlic is even simpler to attain! All you need to focus on is finding the right time to plant it and the type you want. Once it’s in the ground, encourage your garlic’s growth through the use of mulch, trimming, and proper care.
Just like that, you are a garlic gardener and can impress friends and family with fresh and delicious garlic tastes!
Have you ever grown garlic before? Comment below and let us know what your favorite tips and tricks are for improving your garlic harvest!