EVERYDAY HOME | 9.24.15 | by Terra Wellington
We love to garden at SMG. We’re always trying new plants and new veggies. One garden planting that we find nearly fail proof is growing your own garlic. Even if you don’t have a full-scale garden, a little section dedicated to garlic will be all you need — even among your regular landscape. You just plant garlic it in October (maybe November or December if you’re in a warmer climate), and it’s ready by July. And homegrown, fresh garlic is just so amazingly delicious! Do kids like garlic? Well, we’ve found that kids who grow up with great-tasting veggie stir fries (with garlic) or yummy homemade soups (with garlic) like it just as much as anything else — and the adults get to eat appetizing food at the same time!
Here’s how to plant garlic ⬇
Step By Step – How to Grow Your Garlic At Home
1. Find Your Planting Space. Where will you plant your garlic? In a cleared space of your garden? In between landscape features? Containers on a patio? Calculate how much space you have before purchasing your garlic bulbs.
2. Obtain Sproutable Garlic. Most garlic bulbs you get from the grocery store, unless organic, have been treated to lengthen shelf life (like treated with a gas or chemical so that it won’t sprout). So, purchase organic garlic from the store or garlic from a seed company so that your garlic will grow. You can expect that each clove of garlic will sprout a new bulb of 7-10 cloves — essentially cloves are like seeds. And since you will be planting your cloves about 4-6 inches apart, calculate if you need to purchase more than 1-2 bulbs to do your planting based on the space you have available.
If you will be growing your garden in a warmer climate, you might consider purchasing garlic varieties that do better in warmer temperatures. Gardening Know How says these varieties are great for warmer climates —
- Marbled Purple Stripe
3. Prepare Your Garlic Planting Space. You’ll mix in compost and organic fertilizer into your garden soil. Make sure the area is free of weeds and tilled so that the soil is loose.
4. Plant the Garlic Cloves. Pull apart the garlic bulb so that you have individual cloves. Do not remove the skin from the cloves. Use a spoon or wide knife and open up a hole in the soil about 2 inches deep. Plant each clove 4-6 inches apart with the pointed end facing up. Cover the hole with soil. If you are planting in a warmer climate, like Southern California, you can plant garlic through December. If you are planting in a cooler climate, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says to plant the cloves 6-8 weeks before your typical hard frost, which for many means you must plant in late September or October. A hard frost is when the air and the ground freeze, basically several hours of 28º F.
5. Cover with Straw Mulch. Seeds of Change recommends that if you live in a cooler climate that you cover the garlic-planted garden area with 2-4 inches of straw mulch to protect against the elements during the winter. If you’re in a warmer climate, this is probably not necessary.
6. Watch Your Garlic Grow. If you are in a warmer climate, your garlic will sprout within a couple of weeks. Colder climates’ garlic will sprout when the weather warms up in the spring.
7. Harvest With Patience. Garlic takes a long time to mature. For warmer climates, yours might be ready June or July. Colder climates, probably July. Says Gardening Know How —
In late spring or early summer, your garlic plant will start to flower. Let it flower. Once the flower is dead and the leaves have browned one-half to two-thirds of the way down the stem, dig your garlic up.
After harvesting your garlic, let it dry in a well ventilated place — such as a shaded deck area outside. A few days later, store it in a cool, well ventilated place. Save some of your best bulbs for growing garlic again in the fall.
Here is a great video from Seeds of Change that walks you through the planting process: