I love garlic. I love growing my own garlic even more! Sounds hard, right? Wrong. This is probably one of the easiest things to plant.
The great thing about garlic is that you plant it in the fall, September or October, water it a little bit, cover it for winter, it will sprout in the spring, and you will have your own garlic by July! You don’t even need a garden to do this. I planted my garlic in a flower pot.
What you’ll need:
- a head of organic garlic (you can also buy ready to plant garlic online or at your local nursery)
- a flower pot, a spot in your garden, or a spot in your flower bed
You can use store bought garlic (as shown above). I highly recommend using organic. The other stuff (non-organic) can be carrying diseases that will ruin your soil and possibly prevent you from being able to plant in it later. I will be using some spicy purple garlic that I bought from the local co-op (shown below).
Put some dirt in a pot. I used a fairly large pot that will grow about 10 heads of garlic.
I needed to repair and amend my soil so it was suitable for planting. I used some organic fertilizer…
… and I sprinkled some on my dirt…
Then I added some organic compost…
… and mixed it all around … now it’s got all the right stuff to grow garlic!
Time for the fun part:
- break apart your head of garlic into individual cloves. Don’t peel the garlic – it needs the skin on to protect it. I have read that the bigger the clove you plant, the bigger the head.
- In my little gardening guide book it says to plant the garlic 2 inches deep, 4-6 inches apart, and space the rows 2 feet apart. Meh! I will just stick with the 4-6 inch space rule … it worked last time. (I will have pictures and an explanation of the “spring” garlic I planted at the end of this)
- Then lay your cloves out the way they will be planted to ensure proper spacing.
- Now, pick up your first garlic clove and dig a 2 inch hold under it.
- Aaaaaaaand, put your clove in the hole, root side down. (That also means pointy side up, for reference)
- Do this for each clove until each is planted.
- Cover with 2 inches of dirt.
- Cover with mulch, straw, grass clippings, or leaves. This will protect your garlic over the winter.
- My lil’ gardening guide said not to worry if your garlic sprouts up after planting this is normal. Your garlic will still grow normally and pick back up in the spring.
- In the spring, start watering after the last frost. The garlic needs about one inch of water per week. Be sure not to over-water and drown your garlic.
- Harvest right around the 4th of July or when two-thirds of the leaves have yellowed.
- If you can, withhold water 2 weeks before harvest.
- To harvest, gently loosen the soil and lift the bulbs out. Don’t pull them out.
- Don’t cut off the tops. Instead, tie the tops together and hang them somewhere dark, ventilated, and dry to cure for a month.
- After the curing process, you can peel the dirty part away and store your garlic how you normally would.
- Start cooking and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Now for a peak at my “spring” garlic experiment:
When I learned about planting garlic it was springtime, and even though I knew it was not the season for planting … I wanted to try it out anyway. My experiment consisted of planting 4 cloves of store bought garlic in a flower pot, watering it, and waiting to see what happened. Eventually the tops started to yellow, and I cut back on the water. The tops finally wilted, signalling time for harvest. I really expected to dig up a rotted clove of garlic. To my surprise … I grew 4 tiny, mini heads of garlic! I’ve used them in my cooking, and they are tasty. I look forward to growing my full-size version with all of you. Here’s a picture of my mini-garlic next to the store bought. The dirty lookin’ one just hasn’t had the outer layer peeled away. (That’s how you make your garlic look all pretty)
If you have any questions, please comment below. Also leave a comment if you want to know more about fall/winter gardening.
Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.