• It’s Garlic Planting Time!

    by  • September 10, 2009 • Gardening & Pets, Recipes & Meals • 17 Comments

    We cook with garlic almost every day.  Did you know that garlic is simple to grow and so delicious when picked right from your yard?  It is!

    homegrown garlic

    this year's homegrown garlic

    The hardest part of growing garlic is that you must plan ahead.  Garlic needs to be planted in the fall, overwintered in the ground, and then harvested in mid summer.

    To grow garlic, first you need a space in the garden.  Garlic only needs to be spaced about two inches apart, so you can have a good harvest in a small area if you don’t have an expanse of beds.  Garlic does best with full sun in well turned soil.

    Next, you need seed garlic.  The simplest, cheapest way to get these is to buy organic garlic from the grocery store and plant the individual cloves.  The risk in planting grocery store garlic is that you have less control over the variety and if the garlic has not been stored properly it might not grow.

    Local nurseries sometimes carry seed garlic.  Be sure to call ahead, as the dates when garlic arrives vary by location.

    This year we are ordering from thegarlicstore.com because we want to try some of the unique varieties they offer.  In Ohio, hardneck varieties grow best and store best, so that is what we recommend.

    Plant your cloves in early fall.  For Ohio, you can plant anytime in the fall through early winter.  Our biggest lesson learned last year is that spacing can be tight.  Just leave enough space for a head to grow between each clove.

    The cloves will overwinter with no visible growth.  They need the cold temperatures to signal side buds to grow.

    As spring warms the ground, those side buds will develop into cloves.  The garlic will send out tall shoots over the soil.

    mid spring garlic babies in the front of this bed

    mid spring garlic babies in the front of this bed

    In late spring or early summer, a garlic scape will develop.  This strangely shaped growth will develop into a flower, but is it best picked off to allow the garlic to develop into cloves.  The scape has a rough texture but tastes like mild garlic or strong chives and is delicious in stir fry or salad.

    if you dont want to eat the scape, it makes a great magic wand

    if you don't want to eat the scape, it makes a great magic wand

    When the shoots finally start to turn brown and droop, it is time to harvest your garlic.  Pick one plant to make sure it is well developed.  When you like the size of the bulbs, pick all the plants.   Allow to dry in open air.  After a few days, remove the shoots from the top leaving at least a few inches of the hardneck. Scuff off the roots and outer sheath.

    Store your harvest in a cool (around 50 deg F), dry, well ventilated place. Garlic  is deliciously milky and soft when it is young and will turn more pungent as time passes.

    Mmmm….garlic!

    About

    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. I often wear purple and never refuse a drink.

    http://www.harmonioushomestead.com

    17 Responses to It’s Garlic Planting Time!

    1. nalene
      September 10, 2009 at 11:43 am

      Thanks for the information! :) Very helpful!

    2. September 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      HECK YES

    3. kelly
      September 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm

      Great post! We received a scape in our CSA earlier this summer and I had no clue what it was, now I know!

      How would garlic do in a deep outdoor container?

    4. September 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm

      Garlic scapes make a fantastic variant on pesto, too!

    5. Karen Washington
      September 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

      thanks for all the information on planting garlic. this is our first year trying it. I will follow your sugestons and hope for the best. Thank you

    6. Holly
      August 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

      I love your blog! As a fellow Columbus native, and urban gardener I find your information so very helpful! I’m looking forward to planting my first patch of garlic this fall.

    7. Amy
      September 26, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      I thought it was near garlic planting time – just wasn’t quite sure. Seeing as it’s the end of September, and I’m near Cleveland, I think I’ll be planing today :)

      I’m following your blog now too :)

      • September 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        Excellent! Fresh garlic from the garden is worth the long planting season.

    8. Wendy
      March 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      We planted in October and matched it with straw. When do we unbury it or at least take half if the mulch off? We already have shoots growing up taller than the straw. We planted 7 varieties to a tune of 300 cloves!!! We moved from Columbus last year but not too far.

    9. Wendy
      March 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      We planted in October and matched it with straw. When do we unbury it or at least take half if the mulch off? We already have shoots growing up taller than the straw. We planted 7 varieties to a tune of 300 cloves!!! We moved from Columbus last year but not too far.
      ***MULCHED*** not matched.

      • March 14, 2013 at 8:30 pm

        Wendy, I usually leave the mulch on and let the garlic grow through it. I have sprouts on mine too!

    10. Pingback: Garlic Scapes - Why To Cut and How To Cook | Harmonious HomesteadHarmonious Homestead

    11. Jenn
      August 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      can you grow garlic in a pot?

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    14. Jewel
      July 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      I just harvested my first home grown garlic in Dayton Ohio. Rachel’s blog is spot on!! Wish I would have found it sooner. I hung my garlic in my basement to dry out before cutting it back….the guy I bought it from lives in Vermont and after cutting dried his on a homemade rack made of chicken wire that kept the beloved from touching one another. Is there a reason ?? I know we lay our onions and potatoes so they don’t touch to allow them to develop a skin and it keeps them from rotting. Once dry, they can be stored touching . I’m wondering if garlic might be similar. Jewell

    15. September 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

      Regular garlic would probably not work in a container because it needs the cool but moderated by in-ground soil temperatures. However, I saw flowerpot garlic available at http://thegarlicstore.com/ZenCart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_29&products_id=113 It sounds like you can plant them any time, but maybe spring would work best if you want them outdoors?

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