The aroma of fried garlic is a cooking smell that signals to our taste buds that deliciousness is coming. Home gardeners value garlic for its beautiful leaves and flowers, as well as the unique, pungent flavor inherent in cloves when harvested. If you’re the type of cook who tosses garlic into everything from pasta sauce to ice cream — yes, ice cream — spreading garlic is one way to make sure you have enough on hand for a gourmet masterpiece. One garlic plant in the nursery means the potential for more bulbs, as each clove of garlic is the beginning of a new garlic plant. Let’s start discovering how to propagate garlic at home.
Garlic is very easy to grow as long as you get the timing right. In addition to its strong flavor and many culinary uses, “stinky rose” is also used as an insect repellant in the garden and has been used as a home remedy for centuries.
When to Plant Garlic
Garlic grows best in full sun, so choose a planting spot that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.
A week or so before planting, prepare the soil by mixing in healthy compost or aged manure. Then, just before planting, add a few tablespoons of 5-10-10 compound fertilizer, bone meal, or fish meal to the soil a few inches below the bottom of the garlic cloves.
If your garden soil is poorly drained or high in clay, Maine Hope garlic grower Robin Jarry recommends planting in a heavily covered raised bed. “I plant in a raised bed for good drainage, then cover with about 6 inches of hay after the ground freezes. I never water my garlic – I love low maintenance vegetables!”
When to Plant Garlic.
Garlic is most often planted in the fall (late September to November) and harvested the following summer (June to August). In areas with severe frost, plant garlic cloves 6 to 8 weeks before the date of the first frost in the fall, before the ground freezes.
Garlic grows best when it’s “dormant” in cold weather—at least 4°C (40°F)—for 4 to 8 weeks. Planting garlic bulbs in the fall gives them time to grow healthy roots before temperatures drop and/or the ground freezes, but not enough time for the garlic to form top growth. Then, in early spring, the bulb “wakes up” from the dormant stage and quickly begins to grow leaves, followed by the bulb, until the harshest summer heat stops growth.
In mild climates, you can plant garlic cloves in February or March, but the resulting bulbs won’t grow as large. However, you can also enjoy garlic leaves in summer. (Scapes are the plant’s tender green shoots with a hint of garlic flavor. Enjoy them in eggs, salads, pizza toppings, or stir-fries!) If planted in the spring, it’s easy to crumble when the soil is ready for cultivation.
Propagate Garlic At Home
1. After the last frost, prepare the garden soil for growing garlic. Turn the soil with a garden shovel or fork, and if the soil is too hard or full of clay, add compost-rich soil to the native soil and continue turning until you have an easy-to-manipulate bed. For optimal growth, garlic prefers a pH between 6 and 7. Wear gloves to protect your hands when handling compost.
2. Kneel on an old towel or garden kneeling mat and dig a trench about 2.5cm deep, 2cm wide and at least 60cm long or longer, depending on the number of carnations you want to plant.
3. Divide the female onion into individual cloves – called cracking – keeping the paper wrapper intact. Reserve the smallest cloves for cooking and plant only the larger ones. Small cloves produce small onions. Choose between soft, hard or elephant garlic. Softneck is the most common type of grocery store. Hardneck is a strain valued for its unique flavor, but with a shorter shelf life; Elephant Garlic produces a large onion, but its flavor is more reminiscent of an onion. Gloves may need to be removed to handle lilacs.
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4. Place the cloves in the trench with the pointy side up, still keeping 4 to 6 inches of space between the cloves.
5. Cover the cloves with displaced soil to create a raised bed about 4 inches high. When planting elephant garlic, change the soil to create raised beds about 6 inches high.
6. Water your garlic plants weekly and add a water-soluble fertilizer to your schedule every two weeks. Composted tea or fish poop are suitable organic alternatives. Once the leaves start to wilt, you should stop watering two weeks before harvesting the bulbs to allow them to have firm skin.
7. Harvest bulbs by digging out with a small shovel or fork. Hang the bulbs on leaves or on a drying rack for 7 to 10 days before using them to dry the bulbs. Store the dried bulbs in a cool, dry place and save a bulb or two from the harvest for breeding next fall.
Garlic has few problems with garden pests (actually, it’s a natural insecticide), and has few problems with the diseases that plague other vegetables. Keep an eye out for the same pests that plague onions.
Harvest for fall planting lasts from late June to August. If you are planting in the spring, calculate your approximate harvest date based on the “days to maturity” of the garlic variety you are planting.
Generally, the clue is to look for yellowed leaves, but this is not the case with all varieties of garlic. Harvest when the tops are just starting to yellow and fall, but before they are completely dry.
It’s a good idea to taste the onions before scooping up the entire crop. Pick up an onion and see if the harvest is ready. We often dig out a bulb before the tip is completely yellow (late June or early July), as some varieties of garlic will finish faster. The garlic head will be divided into plump cloves, and the skin covering the bulb will be thick, dry, and papery.
If pulled too fast, the skin of the onion will be thin and break easily.
Bulbs can sometimes crack if left in the ground for too long. The skin can also crack, exposing the onions to disease and affecting their storage life.
To harvest the bulbs, carefully scoop them out with a garden fork (do not pull or tear the stems by hand). Avoid damaging the roots, especially the root plates (where they attach to the bulb). Take the plant and gently brush off excess soil, but don’t remove leaves or roots until it’s completely dry.
Above is general article by globaltimes-sl.org on how to grow and preserve garlic. Follow us for more cool, new ways to grow plants.