The Equinox

Although my body yearned to sit down and relax after a grueling morning at work, I knew that not only Spring had arrived today; so too did the start of Spring gardening chores. So, in an attempt to use my Sunday to its fullest, I marched outside, bucket in hand, to weed one of the beds I intend to use for my garden. It didn’t take me long to realize that something besides the usual, green pests was growing in my soon-to-be garden, however. As it turns out, the cloves of garlic I planted last fall had survived the winter and sprung to life!

Coming from an Italian family, I’ve been taught that you can never use too much garlic in a dish, and the fresher the garlic, the better. If you ask me, you can’t get any better than home-grown garlic!

If, like me, you’re interested in growing garlic but aren’t sure how the devil you’re supposed to plant that papery bundle of vegetable matter, here are a few, basic steps I’ve found that will ensure that even the least experienced gardener will have something to harvest this summer. Most of my information is derived from the guide “Growing Garlic.”

1. Acquiring and preparing the cloves.
The easiest method of finding garlic cloves is by purchasing a dehydrated head of garlic at the grocery store, your local farmer’s market, or from a seed vendor such as Johnny’s. It has been recommended to me that choosing garlic from a locally grown source is best, because this will ensure that the type of garlic you grow is suited for your area.
From there, you’ll need to separate each individual clove from the head. I prefer using a sharp knife and piercing the paper-like membrane that surrounds each individual clove before pulling the clove from the base (see below).

2. Planting the Clove

When planting garlic, it is best to find a spot that receives lots of sun and has soil without excessive moisture. Once you have a suitable plot, plant each clove an inch deep with the pointy-side facing up. Probably the most important thing to remember with garlic is that the clove will not grow if it hasn’t first been exposed to cold temperatures. This means that planting in the fall (usually around September 21) is ideal. I do know that refrigerating your cloves will “wake-up” the plant, but I have never tried planting garlic after using this method (if anyone has had success with this technique, I’d love to hear from you!).

3. Harvesting and Storing

Once the green leaves of the plant have turned brown and wilted, it’s time to dig up your garlic. Immediately after harvesting your plants, hang the herbs in a cool, dry place for at least a week to ensure proper drying. After the week has passed, brush the dirt off the cloves and enjoy!

And that’s it! Even with the added steps of preparing the cloves and drying the heads after harvesting, garlic is incredibly easy to grow and enjoy.

Well, it’s time to go back outside; hopefully your first day of Spring isn’t filled with as many weeds as mine!
Until next time, happy gardening!

1. Acquiring and preparing the cloves.
The easiest method of finding garlic cloves is by purchasing a dehydrated head of garlic at the grocery store, your local farmer’s market, or from a seed vendor such as Johnny’s. It has been recommended to me that choosing garlic from a locally grown source is best, because this will ensure that the type of garlic you grow is suited for your area.
From there, you’ll need to separate each individual clove from the head. I prefer using a sharp knife and piercing the paper-like membrane that surrounds each individual clove before pulling the clove from the base (see below).

2. Planting the Clove

When planting garlic, it is best to find a spot that receives lots of sun and has soil without excessive moisture. Once you have a suitable plot, plant each clove an inch deep with the pointy-side facing up. Probably the most important thing to remember with garlic is that the clove will not grow if it hasn’t first been exposed to cold temperatures. This means that planting in the fall (usually around September 21) is ideal. I do know that refrigerating your cloves will “wake-up” the plant, but I have never tried planting garlic after using this method (if anyone has had success with this technique, I’d love to hear from you!).

3. Harvesting and Storing

Once the green leaves of the plant have turned brown and wilted, it’s time to dig up your garlic. Immediately after harvesting your plants, hang the herbs in a cool, dry place for at least a week to ensure proper drying. After the week has passed, brush the dirt off the cloves and enjoy!

And that’s it! Even with the added steps of preparing the cloves and drying the heads after harvesting, garlic is incredibly easy to grow and enjoy.

Well, it’s time to go back outside; hopefully your first day of Spring isn’t filled with as many weeds as mine!
Until next time, happy gardening!

Advertisements

9 responses to this post.

  1. No we Italians can never have enough garlic…nice post and congrats on the garlic crop

    Reply

  2. This year I planted garlic in the front yard perennial beds, in my quest to transform ornamental spaces to edible plantings. Figured the deer who roam our neighborhood might be less interested in the garlic than my strawberries… and so far, it’s working! They sampled one and left the others alone. 🙂

    Reply

    • That’s great to hear! We live in the middle of a very wooded area, so deer are fairly common occurrences in our backyard. Hopefully the garlic will keep our critters nibbling on other plants, too!

      Reply

  3. Gotta love that moment of discovery when you realize that something you want to come up is out there among the weeds. I’m afraid my garlic never gets to the bulbing stage, b/c I pillage the greens all spring for salads. Maybe this will be the year I resist…

    Reply

  4. Nate, I have been growing garlic for two years now. Very satisfying. And yes, the greens are good. I am trying to start garlic this year from the little bulblets from the hard neck blooms. So far, so good. Please check out: http://fromseedtoscrumptious.blogspot.com/2011/03/garlic.html

    Reply

  5. Nate, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I would suggest you just buy a couple of more garlic bulbs, separate them, and start new garlic. The new plants could be dedicated as “green garlic” as they would not have the time to mature into good bulbs. Leave the ones already started to go to full maturity.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: