When to Plant Garlic
In fall, plant cloves in well draining soil or beds after the first frost has passed and the soil is cool. Cloves can also be planted in late winter as soon as the soil thaws, but fall-planted garlic produces bigger, better bulbs.
How to Plant Garlic
Choose a sunny site and loosen the planting bed to at least 12 inches deep. Thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of manure or compost. Wait until just before planting to break bulbs into cloves. Poke the cloves into the ground 3 to 4 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart with the pointed ends up. Cover the planted area with 3 to 6 inches of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves. Garlic is easy to grow as long as you plant varieties suited to your climate. Fertile, well-drained soils with a near-neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.0 are best for growing garlic. All of our hardneck varieties do well in colder climates. Our garlic is grown in zone 4B (-20 to -25 F)
Harvesting and Storing Garlic
From early summer to midsummer, watch plants closely and harvest when the soil is dry and about one-third of the leaves appear pale and withered. Use a digging fork to loosen the soil before pulling the plants. Handle the newly pulled bulbs delicately to avoid bruising them. Lay the whole plants out to dry in a warm, airy spot that is protected from rain and direct sun. Do not wash the bulbs off. Washing will make the soil stain the outside wrappers of the garlic. Direct sun light will cause a sun burn on the freshly harvested bulbs. After a week or so, brush the soil from the bulbs with your hands or a soft brush, and use pruning shears to clip roots to half an inch long. Wait another week before clipping off the stems of hardneck varieties. Do not remove the papery outer wrappers as these inhibit sprouting and protect the cloves from rotting. Whole bulbs of garlic store for several months or more when stored in a cool (60 degrees F), dry, dark place with ample air circulation. However, garlic's lifetime decreases once you start removing cloves
Saving Garlic Bulbs for Planting
Many garlic varieties fine-tune their growth patterns to the climate in which they are grown, so planting cloves from bulbs you grew yourself can save money and also result in a strain that is especially well-suited to the conditions in your garden. As you harvest your crop, set aside the biggest and best bulbs as your “seed” stock.
Garlic Growing Tips
If you're growing in a colder climate we have a few tips that work for us. Just before planting our garlic we soak our garlic in vodka for 15 minutes to prevent disease. From the vodka bath the cloves are put straight into an organic fish emulsion bath and soaked for an hour. Then we plant the garlic immediately. We have found that the fish emulsion bath gives the cloves a boost which promotes roots to get established before the frost is in the ground. You can find fish emulsion at any garden center. Also, experiment with types and varieties because each reacts differently to weather and rainfall patterns. Some varieties are more hearty and deal with the cold better than others. Garlic is easy to grow as long as you plant varieties suited to your climate and soil conditions. Fertile, well-drained soils with a near-neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.0 are best for growing garlic. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. You can find our information on our contact page or join our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/wefarmgarlic/.