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Garlic

The simple little clove of garlic can make such a big impact on a

 

 

 

recipe.  It's so easy to grow, even in a small space.  I grow two kinds, a

 

 

 

hardneck and a softneck (considered a braiding garlic).  I have saved

 

 

 

garlic bulbs for planting for years and since have lost the names, but

there are several great companies that can provide valuable

 

 

 

information on the varieties and what to plant in your time zone (source).  

As you can see crosssection of the garlic bulb above, there are many

 

 

 

sizes of cloves contained in it.  The larger cloves are the best ones to

 

 

 

plant.

Tips for Growing

•  Plant in the fall*.  This is suggested for all garlic because they need the

 

 

 

   cold to produce the best bulbs.

 

•  Get your garlic cloves from a good reliable source.  I found that out the

 

 

 

   hard way.  

•  Make sure to plant root side down.  That is one of the biggest mistakes

 

 

 

   so make sure to plant with the pointed side up.

•  Plant the largest cloves first.  Most garlic bulbs will have a combination

 

 

 

   of small and large cloves; the largest cloves produce  the best bulbs.

•  In my zone, I plant the cloves about 2-inches deep, then cover with soil. 

 

 

 

   I then spread several inches of straw.  Sometimes I will use pine straw if I

 

 

 

   have it.  

•  Make sure the soil isn't too wet or too dry.  Both of those conditions will

 

 

   

    reduce the yield.

•  Harvest at the right time.  The lower third of the leaves will have turned

 

 

   

   brown.  It takes a couple of months to cure properly.  I lay mine on a

 

   wire rack in a protected porch that gets cross ventilation.

*The rules say to plant in the fall and I did in

 

 

the big garden, but since I had some

 

 

healthy hardneck cloves that I wasn't going

 

 

to use, I decided to put some in my

 

 

planting bagsI did not take out the used soil,

 

 

I just mixed in some compost and natural

 

 

fertilizer.  My hand dibbler  made the holes

 

 

and after covering the bulbs, I put a thick layer

 

 

of straw on top.  Now I'll wait and see

 

 

what happens.

I plan on using the cloves that I planted in the bags for garlic scapes.  

The green stalks extend from the base of the hardneck garlic plants and

 

 

 

slightly larger than scallions or chives.  They are a little milder than

 

 

 

regular garlic and can replace it in most dishes.   Once cooked, they

 

 

 

have a sweeter flavor similar to roasted garlic.

A cross section of a garlic bulb that shows the size of the cloves inside.
Bulbs og garlic that have been properly cured.
garlicplanting.jpeg
Planting bag with garlic covered with straw.
The best garlic slicer from OXO.
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