Wonder Herbs for Health and Flavor
Subspecies: Allium sativum
Garlic, a part of the onion family, is used for seasoning foods, as a home remedy to fight infection and as a preservative in some dishes. When growing garlic, planting is done in the fall for a spring harvest.
Garlic has been a common seasoning worldwide for thousands of years, but is native to the region between the Mediterranean and China. Its potent flavor has long been popular to many.
Read on for our full guide on how to grow garlic in your own garden.
Propagate garlic by separating cloves from the head. Garlic cloves have to experience cold temperatures below 65° F in order to develop heads after they are planted.
Garlic develops its green shoots during cool weather and then the bulbs develop as temperatures rise and weather becomes milder. Garlic is planted in the fall for a spring harvest.
The cloves need to planted in loose soil with good drainage. Garlic can be grown in raised beds or in long narrow containers.
Garlic should be planted September – November, depending on climate. Northern regions can be planted first and people in the south should wait until temperatures are consistently cool in mid-November.
Garlic should not be planted where onions have grown in successive years.
Using cloves from the grocery store usually doesn’t work, as they are not true to ‘seed’ or clove. They may also carry diseases or have been treated with pesticides. Buy bulbs from seed catalogs, farmers or nurseries.
Separate cloves from the bulb before planting, but do not remove the skin. Place cloves in the ground, with the point up. There should be 4 – 6 inches between cloves and 15 – 24 inches between rows. The larger varieties will need to be planted at a distance of 8 to 12 inches apart.
Garlic needs a lot of mulching to produce. Rows should be mulched throughout the winter. Check under mulch in the spring, and remove as greens begin to grow.
Garlic greens can be used similarly to scallions and can be trimmed once early in the spring without harming the garlic. Do not cut to low, and make sure there is enough mulch left to stop weeds from sprouting.
Choose the biggest, healthiest cloves from each head for planting. Save big cloves from your harvest for planting the following year.
Garlic does not generally experience insect problems.
If stored properly, kept dry and cool, garlic will last for months and as long as a year. Once the cloves are separated and the paper removed, the garlic should be used within the week.
Garlic greens have a garlicky flavor and can be used for cooking just like garlic or in any way that scallions are prepared. The greens may also be dried and used for seasoning for months.