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Garlic (S, F)

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Alium sativum

Planting:

Spring garlic should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, so that the bulbs can set out roots early.

Fall garlic should be planted approximately 3 weeks before the ground freezes so that the roots have time to develop and the tops do not break the surface before winter. Plant while the soil is still warm in the fall to ensure good root development.

Each bulb consists of several cloves, break individual cloves apart from the bulb and plant with the flat root end down. Plant the cloves 3" apart, 2" deep with 12-18" row spacing.

Growing:

Garlic prefers a full sunny location with a soil pH of 6.0-6.5. It is a light feeder and requires a well prepared, well drained soil. Prior to planting, incorporate some compost. After planting, mulch between the rows, as the shallow roots of this crop do not compete well with weeds. Mulching will also help to conserve moisture. During mid season growth, plants benefit from a nitrogen side dressing, like partially rotted manure, bloodmeal, or a drink of compost tea. For hard neck or fall garlic, be sure to cut off the scape or twisted flower stalk. This will send more energy into producing the bulb.

Harvest:

The first harvest is in early spring, when the plants are about 1 foot tall. You can either cut some greens or pull some complete plants as scallions and use them in your cooking as a source of fresh garlic.
The second harvest is around early to mid summer. Hardneck garlic varieties send up a round stalk or scape. When the scapes curl, snap them off. This enables the plants to put their energy into bulb formation. The scapes are delicious and can be used in place of garlic bulbs. They can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to 3 months.
The final harvest is in late summer or when 75% of the leaves have turned brown. Lift bulbs during dry weather. Cure for 10-14 days in a warm, dark, dry area. After curing, clean roots and cut off the dead foliage. To make garlic braids, the bulbs must be dug and braided while the foliage is still green. Will store for 6-8 months in a dry, cool place.

Companions:

Most vegetables, except for beans and peas.