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How do you grow garlic?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Ceilteach on July 04, 2005 08:01 AM
Can you buy garlic seeds? I opten look for them and have no luck.
Can I take a clove and put it in soil and go from there?
All the garlic I use in cooking, I could use a plant or three!
[kitty]

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"You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat."
Pierre Auguste Renoir
by PAR_Gardener on July 05, 2005 08:36 AM
Firs of all, welcome to the forum.

I've heard other people talk of garlic seeds, but I've never seen them. I grow garlic from the cloves. One clove will produce a whole head of garlic. Actually, it is almost time to harvest fresh garlic now. It is recommended that you buy your garlic from a local farmers market. That way you will get garlic that is acclimated to your growing conditions. It's ok to buy speciality garlic from a catalog too. I wouldn't recommend using a clove from the grocery store. Those are grown for storability not taste.

If you want to grow garlic, you have to decide between stiff neck and soft neck. The stiff neck are supposed to have better flavor, and they are easier to peel, but they don't keep as well. The garlic braids are made with soft neck garlic, and you can find good flavor in a softneck. Take your garlic bulbs, and break them up. Don't peel them, but in the case of hard neck garlics the peel may come off, and that's ok. Pick out the largest cloves for your garden. The best time to plant garlic depends on your growing zone. Think just before the ground is too cold to work. In zone 5, I try to get my garlic in the ground by October.

Ideal soil is rich in organic matter, well draining loam. Push the cloves into the ground by 2-3 times their height, space them 4-6 inches apart in rows that are 1-1.5 feet apart. Mulching is optional, and again dependant on your growing zone. Then all you have to do is wait.

Garlic is very winter hardy. Last year we had a warm up in December, and my garlic sprouted prematurely. The sprouts were killed later by snow. They sprouted again in early spring. Garlic is usually the first thing to appear in the garden. Keep it weeded and watered until the scape (curling looking flower stalk, but instead of flowers it has mini garlic cloves) appears. Common practice is to remove the scape to concentrate on growing the bulb bigger. There is debate on when to remove the scape. I remove the scape once it stands straight up.

Harvest the garlic once there are only 3-4 set of green leaves on top. The bottom leaves=outer wrapper, and these will probably come off during cleaning. The green leaves=the wrapper that you are used to seeing in the store. Cure the garlic by hanging it in a hot dry place for about 2 weeks. Clean the garlic by cutting the roots off, removing any decayed skins, and cut off the tops.

It sounds like a lot of work, but fresh garlic is sooo much better than store bought, and so worth it. You usually only need 1/3 - 1/2 of fresh garlic vs store bought for the same strength.

I've got over 50 plants that I need to cut the scapes off of. BTW, the scapes and the bulb-letts are edible. Another month, and I'll be digging those bad boys up. I can't wait!

* * * *
Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by tkhooper on July 05, 2005 09:46 AM
I got some garlic seeds this year from one of our members. I've never tried it before but it's in the ground and I have my fingers crossed. Most seeds that are from bulb plants seem to take two years to mature but I won't know that for sure for 1 year and 11 months from now lol. I got my seeds by posting what I wanted in the seed exchange and then working on a trade from there. Good luck with your garlic.

PAR thanks for all the information on the garlics. I'm going to study it over the next few days. I want to keep the garlic happy and healthy and it sounds like you know how to do that.

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by PAR_Gardener on July 05, 2005 01:17 PM
TK,

I'm not an expert by any means. I've been growing garlic for only the past 4-5 years. This year is going to be a great year for garlic. The leaves were huge, and the stalks tall.

It turns out that garlic is actually pretty easy. It's more about the timing than anything else. I did read up on the subject: "Growing Great Garlic" by Ron L. Engeland is a book that I'd recommend. They also have a web site where you can order the book and gourmet garlic cloves for your garden:

Filaree Farms

If by garlic seed you mean the tiny cloves/bulbs that appear on top of the scape, I have grown those, and it does take 2 years to get a bulb with multiple cloves. The first year you end up with a bulb/clove that is about the size and shape of a crocus bulb. The second year, you get a multi-cloved bulb. Garlic grown from a clove yields a fully cloved bulb the following year. The "seed" garlic can be grown for the garlic greens, used just like regular garlic just smaller, or planted and harvested the first year as a single "clove".

* * * *
Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by hinda on July 05, 2005 03:12 PM
we also use a lot of garlic - i am definitely going to try this out. though i have a few months until the time is right
by hinda on July 05, 2005 03:13 PM
we also use a lot of garlic - i am definitely going to try this out. though i have a few months until the time is right
by tkhooper on July 05, 2005 06:38 PM
Hinda if I had some extra I would send it but I don't. Good luck with the garlic I think it is going to be a wonderful plant for your garden.

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by LMT on July 05, 2005 11:40 PM
I am going to start garlic this fall. I am going to buy from these people.

They do not grow the winter hardy garlic that I'm after, they resell from other growers. I haven't been able to locate a midwest grower. The site, if nothing else, has a lot of useful information.

* * * *
Currently listening to: Vince Guaraldi Trio -- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Adult and contemporary but evocative of youth and innocence, a must own CD.
by Elfinone on July 07, 2005 10:50 PM
I will try this to. I have been tryin to grow garlic for a while now. Never have I been able to get good sized garlic. I am about ready to give it up. But then again it has become a challenge,lol.
[Wink]
by Ceilteach on July 09, 2005 07:20 AM
quote:
Originally posted by PAR_Gardener:
Firs of all, welcome to the forum.

I've heard other people talk of garlic seeds, but I've never seen them. I grow garlic from the cloves. One clove will produce a whole head of garlic. Actually, it is almost time to harvest fresh garlic now. It is recommended that you buy your garlic from a local farmers market. That way you will get garlic that is acclimated to your growing conditions. It's ok to buy speciality garlic from a catalog too. I wouldn't recommend using a clove from the grocery store. Those are grown for storability not taste.

If you want to grow garlic, you have to decide between stiff neck and soft neck. The stiff neck are supposed to have better flavor, and they are easier to peel, but they don't keep as well. The garlic braids are made with soft neck garlic, and you can find good flavor in a softneck. Take your garlic bulbs, and break them up. Don't peel them, but in the case of hard neck garlics the peel may come off, and that's ok. Pick out the largest cloves for your garden. The best time to plant garlic depends on your growing zone. Think just before the ground is too cold to work. In zone 5, I try to get my garlic in the ground by October.

Ideal soil is rich in organic matter, well draining loam. Push the cloves into the ground by 2-3 times their height, space them 4-6 inches apart in rows that are 1-1.5 feet apart. Mulching is optional, and again dependant on your growing zone. Then all you have to do is wait.

Garlic is very winter hardy. Last year we had a warm up in December, and my garlic sprouted prematurely. The sprouts were killed later by snow. They sprouted again in early spring. Garlic is usually the first thing to appear in the garden. Keep it weeded and watered until the scape (curling looking flower stalk, but instead of flowers it has mini garlic cloves) appears. Common practice is to remove the scape to concentrate on growing the bulb bigger. There is debate on when to remove the scape. I remove the scape once it stands straight up.

Harvest the garlic once there are only 3-4 set of green leaves on top. The bottom leaves=outer wrapper, and these will probably come off during cleaning. The green leaves=the wrapper that you are used to seeing in the store. Cure the garlic by hanging it in a hot dry place for about 2 weeks. Clean the garlic by cutting the roots off, removing any decayed skins, and cut off the tops.

It sounds like a lot of work, but fresh garlic is sooo much better than store bought, and so worth it. You usually only need 1/3 - 1/2 of fresh garlic vs store bought for the same strength.

I've got over 50 plants that I need to cut the scapes off of. BTW, the scapes and the bulb-letts are edible. Another month, and I'll be digging those bad boys up. I can't wait!



* * * *
"You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat."
Pierre Auguste Renoir
by Ceilteach on July 09, 2005 07:25 AM
hmmmm...hopefully this will post my reply:

So you think I could do this in a container? I dont have a garden yet...still looking for a house =)

I have a few months till the weather turns cold but up here in the Northeast, time will run out quickly.

Thanks to all of you who replied with garlic tips...much appreciated.

* * * *
"You come to nature with all her theories, and she knocks them all flat."
Pierre Auguste Renoir
by PAR_Gardener on July 09, 2005 10:50 AM
Ceilteach,

Two years ago, I didn't get around to planting my garlic in the fall. I had all the cloves ready to go, and for whatever reason, I didn't get them planted, and then the ground froze. I still wanted to grow garlic, so I planted them in cells, and moved them outside in late winter for two months. Then when the ground thawed enough for me to work it, I planted all the sprouted garlic. That year's harvest didn't appear to be any worse for the wear.

If you're going to grow garlic in a container, I would recommend a deeper pot so the roots have some space to stretch out. You can do it in the fall, but I wouldn't leave it out in the open outside. I'd mulch it, put it in a shed or garage where the temps would be more moderate, but not as cold as a pot would be on the ground. I would leave it outside (watering regularly) until a week of freezing weather, and then move it into a protected area for the rest of the winter. Move the pot back outside once you start to see growth. Then it's follow the other suggestions.

* * * *
Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.

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