HOW TO…PLANT GARLIC
Pick A Location
Like most food plants, garlic does well in full sun. And while it will tolerate some moisture it should not be located in a spot that may experience standing water.
Prepare Your Soil
Like almost every other plant, garlic responds well to loamy soil. So, if your soil has too much clay or is too sandy add the appropriate amendments. Often, a good compost is all that’s needed. That being said, garlic doesn’t need perfect soil and will grow in most soils.
Consider A Mound
We grow our garlic in mounded rows whcih are about a foot wide and 4-6 inches high. It is not necessary to grow garlic in mounds, but we believe that it helps keep the garlic protected from all the vagaries of our freeze/ thaw cycles and helps to protect the garlic from any standing water that may result from snow melt or heavy rains. If you are more concerned about dry heat in your area, you are probably better off without mounding.
Break It Up
On the day that you are going to plant, break your bulbs up into individual cloves. Do not worry about removing any attached wrappers or roots.
Put It In The Ground
“Dig a little hole, plant a little seed….”
Can you tell we have little kids? Anyway, dig a little hole a bit wider than your clove. Make the hole about 2-3 inches deep. Pressing a spade handle 2-3 inches into the earth works for us. Insert your clove POINTED SIDE UP, ROOT SIDE DOWN. Cover with dirt. Plant your next clove 6-8 inches away. We plant our garlic in mounded rows, two rows per mound with the cloves spaced alternately every six to eight inches.
In Zone 5, we have luck mulching our garlic with 4-6 inches of straw. We loosely set it on top of our rows. It compacts over the winter but that seems to work fine. Along with mounding, the mulch helps to lessen the climate shifts caused by the freeze/thaw cycle. We leave our straw on right through the harvest, it helps to keep the soil evenly moist and does a little bit to keep down weeds.
Watch It Grow!
At times garlic grows so quickly it almost seems as if you can watch it come up. While it’s growing don’t let the soil get too dry (it shouldn”t crack). Lastly, you may want to fertilize it. Try fish emulsion. Whatever you do, do not fertilize during the last few weeks of growing so that the plants energy is directed towards bulb growth and not leaf growth. For tips on harvesting garlic check out: How To…Harvest Garlic