Saturday, September 1, 2012

How and When To Plant garlic (look for seed garlic starting September 8th)

Plant garlic in mid-October (earlier for high elevations.) Select the largest cloves from the largest bulbs. Original bulb size determines the size of your garlic, as well as how much water it gets.
How To Plant- Plant in good enriched soil in FULL sun. Separate cloves, plant each clove 2” deep and 5” to 7” apart with the pointy end up. Use only large cloves. Don't worry if the cloves are soft or have no skins. Mulch 2” to 4” with straw or grass clippings (no herbicides or pesticides.) Water VERY well after planting- we water the bed with a sprinkler for 12 hours after planting (the sprinkler goes back and forth giving the bed about 2-3" of water total.
Care and Feeding- Fertilize green shoots 2-3 times in March to May with fish emulsion or other high nitrogen fertilzer. Water well in late February and throughout Spring unless we have a wet winter. Keep well-watered in May and June. For hardnecks clip central seed stalk (called scapes) when they make a loop, or shortly afterwards (usually in June.)
You will usually see the green leaves poking up in February or March.
Harvest- Dig up when half of the leaves are brown, usually June 25- July 10.  (This year the main harvest started June 10th, and some of the early garlic (Turban types) got pulled on May 29th.)  Shade immediately. Hang or put on ventilated shelves for 3 weeks to “cure”. They must have good air circulation and shade.
How To Store- Store at room temperature or cooler, out of direct sunlight. Cool basements and garages can work well for storage. The bulbs need air circulation, but storing in paper bags can keep them from drying out too much. Some people have had good luck storing it in the fridge in a paper bag. Hardnecks generally store up to 5 months from harvest date. Softnecks up to 9 months.

Save your best garlic for Replanting!