Time to Plant Garlic!

Time to Plant Garlic! 2This is the best time to plant garlic for next summer’s harvest. And it’s so easy, anyone can grow it. It can be a recyclable harvest, because you can start your garlic planting now and save some of next year’s harvest to plant again next fall. We love all kinds of garlic in our family, hard neck and elephant garlic especially.

Each single clove in a bulb is a seed that will grow into a bulb of its own. To prepare the cloves for planting, separate each clove carefully, keeping as much of the papery skin as possible. The skin protects the clove from rotting until it sprouts. For better planting, soak them overnight first. Get a quart jar and fill it with water and stir in a teaspoon of baking soda. Once that has dissolved in the water, drop in your garlic cloves for the night.

Garlic is not picky about soil types but loose soil mixed with compost seems to work best. I make long trenches about 4 inches deep in the raised bed, and keep the rows about 8 inches apart. Then plant each clove with the pointy end up (that’s where it sprouts!) keeping the cloves 4-6 inches apart. Then cover with soil and add a top layer of 4-6 inches of straw or mulch to help keep the bulbs warmer while they are sprouting and to discourage weeds from coming up.

Water periodically for the first couple of weeks and then relax and let nature do its thing. By the end of next July you should have a fine harvest of garlic. From that harvest, save the biggest bulbs to use for next fall’s planting.