Plant of the Week - Garlic
originally posted on Knoxville Area Gardening Tips- June 30, 2016
If you have never grown garlic, it is one of the easiest crops to grow and you can grow a year's supply in a relatively small area. And you can even save your own "seed".
There are two main types of garlic and multitudes of varieties within each type.
Hardneck Garlic has a tough inner stalk in the center of a ring of usually, quite large cloves. This type of garlic is usually recommended for further north, but I have not had any trouble getting good harvests. Hardneck garlic also gives you a harvest of the developing flower heads, aka. garlic scapes, in the spring. You rarely see hardneck in stores because they only keep well for 3-4 months. This type is said to have some of the more interesting flavors.
|2014 Garlic & Shallot Harvest|
It is best to order your garlic online, or purchase it from a local grower. If you purchase it locally be sure to ask what variety it is. So, if you catch the garlic growing bug, you will know what you already have.
|2015 Garlic & Shallot Harvest|
It does like soil that is fairly loose and has a moderate amount of fertility. Some compost added to the bed a month or so before planting is what I have seen most often recommended. You can use a spading for to loosen the soil, the big issue is, you don't want to break the leaf stalk off of the bulb when you are harvesting. You plant in October. Putting the cloves 6 inches apart and about 4 inches deep. Mulch with straw or something simular to prevent weeds. The garlic will start to grow green straplike leaves. Don't worry if there are freezes, even if the tops are frozen the growing garlic in the ground will be fine. When spring comes the leaf growth will accelerate dramatically. If you have hardneck, keep an eye out for scapes and harvest them after the have made a full circle. This will keep you plant from putting energy into making a flower. In June or early July you will see the leaves dying from the bottom up. When about half the leaves have turned brown, dig up a test head to make sure the head has divided into cloves. If they have, harvest your garlic. You then need to cure it so it will store well. Put it in a well ventilated, sheltered place out of direct sun for a week or so. After that select the best, unblemished heads to save for "seed" for next years crop and store it all in a relatively cool location. I store my seed garlic in a dry room in our basement and my cooking garlic, on my kitchen walls.
|2016 Garlic & Shallot Harvest|
Here is a link to a website with lots of good information on growing garlic and different varieties of garlic.