Monday, October 26, 2009

Growing Garlic

We decided to grow garlic last fall. It was simple to do and low maintenance throughout. Our books recommend getting garlic from a seed store but in November 2007 we went to the grocery and picked out a couple of nice organic cloves (the danger in either case is taking garlic home to grow that was not grown in your region and isn't as productive given certain environmental conditions). For the next 2 years we ordered organic garlic seed from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

To begin, pick a sunny space in your yard (maybe a flower bed or anywhere you can spare) and plant bulbs 6 inches apart about a month or 2 before the soil freezes. After planting cover with a layer of straw or mulch. In the spring you can remove the mulch and look for sprouts. Garlic will grow well with only moderate attention, but it is slow growing. It is ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn brown or fall over. This generally happens in late summer but as you can see we are harvesting here at the beginning of June (probably a combination of poor soil and extreme heat). But it was worth it! Remember that the garlic will inhabit its place in the yard from Fall to late summer but you can companion plant with lettuce underneath the maturing garlic.

Here the girls are spreading our first harvest of vermicompost (worm poo) in the spot where we will be planting the garlic cloves. This was November of 2007

Jen took this picture so she would remember where the cloves were planted.
Garlic growing in spring of 2008.
After we pulled it up last week we let it sit and cure in a shady spot for about a week.
Note: Cost=3 bulbs. Payoff=30 bulbs.

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