When to plant:
October-November are the best planting months for gardeners in the north, although some have found success all the way through December. Gardeners in the south should plan on planting from November through January. To insure good root growth prior to the cold weather of winter, planting two to four weeks before the ground freezes is optimum.
What amount and how do I plant garlic?
A garlic seed is a clove of garlic from the biggest and best bulbs of a harvest. Most gardeners planting for their own use will find 1-5 pounds of seed garlic will produce enough garlic for their culinary use. If one wants seeds remaining for the following planting season, 5 lbs would suffice. Garlic seed will usually produce 4-12 times the amount that you plant. Ratio may vary between varieties.
Typically, your order will give you about 7-10 bulbs per pound of seed garlic ordered depending on the variety. Cloves per bulb also is dependent on the variety.
Plant your garlic in raised beds with 5 inches between rows and 5-9 inches apart in each row. Plant the biggest cloves first. Any leftover cloves can be used immediately for cooking or drying. Break the garlic bulbs no more than 2 days prior to planting. When breaking the bulb, be careful to keep as much skin on the cloves as possible while also keeping the root bottom of the clove intact. Seeds should be planted with the root end down and 2 inches deep. Cover with soil and mulch.
Although, garlic's soil preference is a rich, well-drained soil, it is adaptable and will
tolerate many soil types. Tight or clay soils with poor drainage can make it difficult to grow garlic and could result in rot problems.
Fertilizer high in nitrogen can be applied right after planting and prior to mulching and then again in the spring when garlic plants are
experiencing most of their vegetative growth. Garlic rarely needs water prior to spring much like any garden vegetable. Garlic completes its green leaves growth and is ready to use its energy for its bulb when days
lengthen and the temperature climbs, typically late Spring or early summer.
The Hardneck garlics will send up a flower stalk in the mid-spring months. This stalk is called a garlic scape. The scape should be cut off 1/2 inch above the top plant leaf before it begins to start to uncoil . This allows the energy of the plant to be used for growing the garlic bulb. Scapes are sold in many stores and may be used in a variety of dishes or dried for a nice soft garlic, onion seasoning.
When is garlic harvest time?
Garlic plants begin to dry down from the lowest leaf up and from the leaf tips downward, one leaf at a time. Harvest when the top 4 leaves are still mostly green.
Once plants are dug up, brush off as much of the dirt as possible and bundle plants in groups 8- 10 plants. Find a area out of
direct sunlight with good air circulation and place your hanging rack there. Leaving
freshly dug bulbs in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes could sunburn them(literally begin cooking them). Curing is completed
in 3 to 4 weeks.
Ensure they are
dry by checking the clove wrappers inside bulb. Cut the neck of the plant about one-half inch
above the bulb, if there is no moisture apparent, the garlic is cured. Trim the roots
and necks to one-half inch length.
Best storage conditions for garlic?
Garlic should be stored in ventilated storage containers such as netted onion bags or crates with open slats. A cool and dark place with little to no moisture is best for long term storage. This can be in a basement, garage or other areas that meet the necessary conditions. Storing garlic in a refrigerator will cause it to begin sprouting. Most garlic stores well at room temperature. Temperatures for long storage is 45-55 degrees for optimal results, although most garlic will store in room temperature or several months as long as the humidity is maintained around 50-70% (which will prevent slow dehydration).