So how do I grow powerfully flavourful garlic - often the size of my fist - that usually keeps for an entire year? Here are my 6 Tips for Growing Great Garlic:
1. Start With Good Garlic Seed
Start with good garlic seed, I cannot stress this enough. Like having a good foundation to build your home upon, having good garlic seed will be the difference between decent garlic and great garlic.
I always recommend getting your garlic seed (and any other seeds) at Seedy Saturday, an open seed exchange that encourages the use of open-pollinated and heritage seeds. Heritage seeds protect seed diversity and are not generically modified. If there isn't a Seedy Saturday near you, try your local farmers market or turn to the power of the internet to see if you can find heritage seed online.
2. Plant Your Garlic in the Fall
Fall is the best time to plant garlic.
You can certainly plant garlic in the spring, but fall planted garlic is ready earlier, and it also cuts down on the workload in busy springtime.
3. Don't Fertilize the Garlic
Garlic is a ‘light feeder’ so I usually don’t fertilize unless the garlic is planted in a bed that had a ‘heavy feeder’ growing in it that season.
4. Do Use Compost for Your Garlic
A little compost is good and I always add SoilPerfect Rx VIE granular.The difference between using fertilizer and using compost and/or humics is that compost and humics add organic material to your soil for the garlic to use when it starts growing in the spring. Organic material feeds the microbes in the soil, which cycles nutrients and water to your garlic.
5. Plant Your Garlic Right
My seed bulbs grow quite large and the soil is very productive, so I plant my garlic about 6-7” apart.
Push them down into the soil to about the depth of the knuckle on your thumb.
Give it a good water if the soil needs it. Mulch with leaves or clean straw.
6. Clear the Mulch in the Spring
In the spring, I will clear some of the mulch away - but leaving some on the bed will provide early spring ground cover helping with water retention and discouraging weeds.
Have more questions about growing garlic? Or questions about gardening in general?
Like every gardener, I love talking to people about their gardening experiences, sharing knowledge and tips to help our community grow good food. Post your comments below or send me an email directly will all your garlic questions, or requests for future blog topics.
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