Grow your own garlic…it's easy

Date: 
07/07/2012
Garlic

A quarter at the bottom of the picture gives you an indication of the cloves size

Garlic is an easy crop to grow and requires little space and it tastes so good. In Chicago it is best planted late September or early October.

Ground Preparation
Garlic is best grown in good soil. Loosen the soil by digging and turning it over. If the soil is heavy clay or coarse, lighten it by adding compost, peat moss or other material, some all purpose fertilizer can also be worked into the mixture.

Planting
I purchase the garlic from a garden center or similar store. You can also use garlic from the grocery store but I prefer the garden center as a supplier.

The garlic should be broken into individual cloves and each clove planted root side down about 2 to 3 inches deep and about 6 inches apart. Planting in early October give a chance for the cloves to root and start growing before the winter sets in. Small green shoot will appear. I have not found it necessary to cover these shoots.

When the spring arrives the plants will send up tall green leaves and also a stem with a bulbous growth at the top, this will bend over and is known as a scape. I have found it does not make much difference if you cut these off although some people do.

Harvesting
Depending on the season, the garlic is ready for harvesting early in July. It is ready when most of the lower leaves have turned brown but the upper leaves are still green. Don’t wait until all the leaves are brown or the bulbs may split. Lift the garlic with a fork taking care not to bruise or damage them or they will not keep.

Dry them off in a cool dry place, not in the sun. When they have completely dried, you may cut off the dried leaves above the bulb. Store the garlic in a cool dry place, not in the refrigerator or in plastic bags. A basket or mesh bag is ideal they should keep until the next harvest.

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