We finally figured out the secret to growing garlic. This is not the first year we have planted garlic. Other years we have planted the little bulbs and then we were disappointed that it didn’t work very well. Needless to say, we were doing it all wrong. Read More
Since our altitude is at 5600 and our winters can get really cold we didn’t think it would make it through the winter. We always planted it in the spring. It would grow a little but was not really very impressive. Last fall we bought some garlic bulbs here at a local greenhouse and decided to plant it in the fall. We planted around the 10th of October. We had already had a hard frost and everything had frozen and died back, but the ground wasn’t frozen yet. My husband worked the ground really well just like we do in the spring before we plant our garden.
He marked his rows with the twine and started to plant. Now a big piece of garlic is called a bulb. If you break the bulb down, a lot like you break apart an orange, each little piece is called a clove. Leave the paper covering, and also the roots of each clove. Take the little cloves and with the root facing down and the point facing up place them in the dirt about an inch deep. Cover it with the soil and pack it down around the bulb. Some people will mulch the garlic to protect it from the cold winters. We ended up getting a lot of snow and that insulated the ground and protected our little cloves of garlic.
We were done until spring.
It was really exciting to see the garlic poking up through the dirt when it started to warm up in the spring. It was one of the first things in our garden to come up. It grew quickly and soon had tall thick leaves sprouting out of the ground. We continued to watch it grow. It is really an interesting plant. It started to grow a stalk-like thing out of the center of it with a bulb on the end of it. This went really curly. Then we cut those curls off of all of them but a couple.
You watch this curly stock to know when it is ready to harvest. As July progressed this little curly stock started to straighten up. On the last day of July, it was standing straight up.
A lot of the leaves had turned yellow and they were starting to dry up. It was ready to harvest.
Shawn took the shovel out and carefully dug each bulb up.
He put them in a bunch and hung them in his shop to dry. Before the leaves are totally dry on the soft neck garlic you can braid them to make it look pretty. Braided garlic makes a wonderful gift for neighbors.
He labeled each bunch so we would know what kind they were. We will keep the biggest ones and plant them again in October. The others we will keep to use in the house for cooking and medicinal reasons. When purchasing your garlic you can get a soft neck variety which stores longer and has a milder flavor. The hard neck tastes more like a wild garlic. The skins peel off easier, but they don’t store quite as long. We planted both kinds.
Garlic was a lot of fun to watch grow. Especially the way the stalk curls and then straightens so you know when it is ready. I am looking forward to using these all winter. We are saving our best to plant again in October so we can do it again next year.
I hope you enjoyed my post. Please feel free to comment below. We would love to hear about your experiences growing garlic in your garden.
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