How to Grow An Endless Supply of Garlic

How to Grow An Endless Supply of Garlic

Growing an endless supply of garlic is possible with proper planning and care. Garlic is relatively low-maintenance and can produce multiple cloves for future planting. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow garlic to ensure a continuous supply:

1. Choose the Right Garlic Variety:

Select a garlic variety suited to your climate. Softneck garlic varieties are typically best for milder climates, while hardneck varieties are better for colder regions.
2. Prepare the Planting Bed:

Garlic prefers well-draining soil with good organic matter. Prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil to a depth of about 8-10 inches and removing any weeds or debris.
3. Select Healthy Garlic Bulbs:

Purchase or save healthy garlic bulbs for planting. Break the bulbs into individual cloves, keeping the papery skin intact.
4. Plant the Garlic Cloves:

Plant the garlic cloves in the fall, about 2-4 weeks before the first expected frost date. Space the cloves 4-6 inches apart in rows, with rows spaced 12-18 inches apart. Plant the cloves with the pointed end facing up, about 1-2 inches deep.
5. Mulch the Bed:

Cover the planted area with a layer of mulch, such as straw or leaves, to help regulate soil temperature and moisture levels during the winter.
6. Provide Adequate Water:

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during the growing season in spring. Garlic prefers evenly moist soil.
7. Fertilize as Needed:

Garlic generally benefits from a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer applied in the spring when growth starts. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates.
8. Scapes Removal:

Garlic will produce scapes (flower stalks) in early summer. Remove these scapes when they curl, as they can divert energy from bulb development. Scapes are edible and can be used in cooking.
9. Harvest Garlic:

Garlic is ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow and start to dry out. Typically, this occurs in late summer or early fall, about 8-10 months after planting.
Carefully dig up the garlic bulbs, taking care not to damage them.
10. Cure the Garlic:
– Allow the harvested garlic bulbs to cure in a dry, well-ventilated place for 2-4 weeks. This process helps the bulbs develop a papery skin and enhances their flavor and shelf life.

11. Store and Save Cloves:
– Once cured, store your garlic bulbs in a cool, dry place. Save the largest and healthiest cloves for replanting in the next planting season.

By following these steps, you can establish a cycle of planting, harvesting, and saving garlic cloves for the next growing season, ensuring a continuous supply of fresh garlic for your culinary needs.