Quick Grower’s Guide
|Plant Spacing||6″ to 8″; 4 rows in 36″ wide beds|
|Germination Soil Temp.||55º F (12.8º C)|
|Day’s to Germination||7|
|Sow Indoors||Not recommended|
|Sow Outdoors||In the South: after danger of last spring frost
In the North: after first major frost of autumn
|Growing Soil Temps||55º – 75º F (12.8º – 23.9º C)|
|Soil pH||5.5 – 7.5|
|Light Requirement||Full Sun|
|Seed Longevity||N/A; fresh cloves only|
Garlic has been cherished since antiquity for its distinctive culinary properties and contributions to good health. Garlic is an anti-oxidant food, rich in sulfur compounds; it contains selenium, an essential trace element. Its reputed health benefits range from fighting colds and infections to the oxidation of fat that accumulates in heart-muscle tissue. It is known as an aid for the prevention of high cholesterol and cancer. In addition garlic is the best deferent in the garden against insects.
Garlic’s primary requirement is sunny, loose, well drained soil containing moderate amounts of organic matter. For best results incorporate moderate amounts of compost or well rotted manure deeply dug into the soil. Beware of fresh manure as it may contain seeds, & high concentrations of urine & salts. Rake to break up & remove debris from the soil. Work the soil only when it is dry enough not to stick to garden tools. Garlic is a fairly deep rooted plant but it is very sensitive to moisture fluctuations. Without adequate moisture the roots cannot deliver the require nutrients to produce large cloves properly. Form a 36″ wide bed the length of your choice. Using a garden hoe form a shallow trench in the center of the 36″ wide bed about 4″ deep. Do not allow the trench between the 2 rows too extend beyond the end of the beds as this trench will hold water later. The 2 rows in the 36″ wide bed should be about 12″ apart. rows on each side of the 36″ wide bed should be at least 14″ to 16″ wide.
Perform a complete soil analysis to determine fertilization needs. Soil sample kits including sample bag and instructions can be obtained from your local county Agricultural extension service office free of charge. However, the fee for the actual soil analysis is usually about $15.00.
Garlic prefers soil enriched with well rotted manure from the previous season.
Planting & Growing:
Garlic is planted in the early fall for a summer harvest. I have never subscribed to the idea that I should buy garlic cloves for planting from a seed or garden retailer. I have always purchased my planting cloves from the grocery store. Wal-Mart usually has the best selection of large healthy garlic suitable for planting. I can usually find the largest cloves there. Select the largest cloves you can find. Separate the cloves by prying apart. Select only the largest of cloves once separated. Prepare your bed as described above and plant 2 rows on each side of the 36″ wide bed. Equally space the row by about 8″ and plant the cloves about 3 inches deep at the bottom of the clove with pointed end up. Space the cloves in the row about 6 inches apart. Cover the entire 36″ wide bed including the trench between the rows with leaves or straw mulch. The leaves of the garlic will penetrate the mulch easily. The mulch will retain moisture, attract worms, and reduce the growth of weeds in the beds. Any weeds that do germinate are easily removed by hand or light cultivation. When it is time to water your plants simply apply a moderate amount of water into the trench between the row you formed earlier. Do not apply water to quickly as you may wash out soil holding the water. The water will slowly soak deeply onto the root zone. Using this method your plants will always have adequate moisture to perform well. It is of great importance that the soil be kept moist and weed free.
Care during the growing season:
Adequate moisture supply is of key importance to Garlic. Check the moisture of the soil often. Keep them moist not wet. Start reducing the amount of moisture in mid spring when leaf growth stops. As they mature they do not require as much moisture. Do not allow weed to compete with your garlic or poor performance will result. If your garlic start sending up seed shoots cut them off. Allowing these to mature will reduce the size of your finishes cloves at harvest.
Pests & Diseases:
Garlic has very few problems with insects. Its strong oil and natural chemicals repel pests. Which is why garlic spray is a great organic pest deterrent for your other vegetables.
When your garlic tops start to show signs of turning brown withhold water until harvested. They should be ready to harvest when about 60% of the leaf is brown. Dig the cloves with a garden fork and remove excess dirt. allow them to sun dry for a couple days. Protect them from a surprise rain shower. Leave the leaves attaches to the cloves as long a possible. The brown leaved can be braded and hung indoors as decoration and used when needed. If your soil is wet when harvested they will turn brown and rot.
Garlic will last a long time if kept dry. When the tops are completely brown cut back about 1″ above cloves and store in a netted hanging bag or baskets. If they begin to shrivel move them to a moister environment.