Garlic is one of my life long favorite flavors! Now that we live in the country, it is a garden staple for us. Lets chat on how garlic grows.
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Can I grow Garlic from a Clove?
As a general rule, garlic comes from planting cloves. Each clove grows into a bulb. It is best to plant large, fresh garlic cloves. Planting smaller cloves will result in a smaller fuller grow bulb. Always select a larger clove if you have the option, because all cloves take up the same space in your garden. We personally will grow both large and small cloves, we use what we have. The garlic from the small cloves is fine, just small.
How Long to does it take to Grow Garlic from a Clove?
Generally speaking, garlic takes approximately 9 months after being planted until it is ready to harvest. Most gardeners prefer to plant garlic in the fall and harvest mid-summer. As with other bulbs, garlic needs a cold period (vernalization) to help trigger the growth. Planting in the fall allows that to happen and the garlic to be ready mid-summer.
Can I grow Garlic from a Seed?
Technically, yes, you can grow garlic from a seed. However, garlic is primarily grown from a clove. Garlic seeds are very rare, and most garlic grown does not actually seed. If you do get your hands on a seed, it will take a few years to get a bulb of garlic.
Where Should I buy Garlic Cloves to Grow?
As a general rule, you should plant garlic cloves that are either sold for planting specifically, from a farm stand or garlic that is organic. A lot of garlic that is purchased from the grocery store is grown in China. It is treated with chemicals so it will not sprout, which means it will not grow in your garden.
There are a lot of great choices for buying garlic though:
- We buy our garlic from Gurney’s. We have had awesome luck with the garlic and other plants and seeds we have purchased from them
- Another online option is Keene Organics, which has a 4.9 rating on Google and Facebook
- A great option would also be to stop at a local farm stand or farmers market to get some fresh garlic to plant
- Your local grocery store is an option but opt for an organic variety to ensure it is untreated
What kind of Garlic should I grow?
There are two types of garlic that can be purchased to plant – Hardneck and Softneck. There are many factors in deciding what kind of garlic to grow. We grow both Hardneck and Softneck, and enjoy both. I have not worked out if I have a preference yet, I love all things garlic. But here is a chart of some things you may want to consider when choosing which garlic to grow.
|Stalks||One Central Rigid (hard) stalk||Several Stalks/leaves – flexible (soft)|
|Scapes||Edible scapes||No edible scapes|
|Cloves||Fewer, but larger cloves, one row||Many smaller cloves, multiple rows|
|Storage||4-6 months (in proper conditions)||9-12 months (in proper conditions)|
|Climate||Better suited for colder climates||Better suited for warmer climates|
When you’re ready to plant garlic, here is a quick cheat sheet for the steps you need to take! These are the steps you need to take if you’re planting in the fall. We plant our garlic right around Halloween.
- Purchase untreated garlic (a lot of grocery store garlic is treated so it will not grow)
- Separate garlic bulbs into cloves – leave the protective “papery” layer on the garlic
- Dig holes 4-6 inches apart for each clove you are going to plant; about 2 inches deep
- Plant garlic flat side down, pointy side up
- Water after planting and fertilize as needed
Can I plant Garlic cloves in the Spring?
It is possible to plant Garlic in the spring. In this case it is important the garlic still go through vernalization (a cold period). You can achieve this by planting as early as possible in the spring and letting nature do the work. This can also be done by putting the garlic cloves in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. To do this, put the garlic in the fridge in a container that allows air in to ventilate. Frequently check on the garlic to make sure there is no mold forming. Once you see a sprout or root forming, get the garlic into the ground as soon as possible.
Garlic that is planted in the fall is typically ready around the fourth of July. You’ll be looking for the bottom leaves of the plant to turn brown. You want to remove the entire plant from the ground, use a shovel around the soil to help loosen if needed (but don’t damage the plant). Gently shake the soil off the bulb. We generally do a test bulb when we think they are ready, and if we like the way the plant looks, we harvest the rest. If its a little small, we wait until a few more leaves turn brown and then harvest. If you plant your garlic in the Spring, it may not be ready to harvest mid-summer. It can take up to 150 days to grow. Watch the plants for when those leaves start turning brown.
Garlic is a great plant to start with for beginners. Harvesting your own garlic from a clove you’ve planted is really rewarding and so much more delicious than store bought garlic. We use our home grown garlic for many recipes including our homemade tomato sauce, salsa and so much more!
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Thank you! Happy Gardening!