Growing Garlic

Growing garlic can be an easy addition to your vegetable garden.

Cloves from the supermarket will grow in your garden, but for best results choose varieties that are best for your region.  Hard neck types grow best in cold regions.  The cloves should be planted in the fall around Columbus Day and protected with good quality mulch through the winter.  They will be ready to be harvested in early summer.  Garlic should be  planted in a full sun location, with loamy, loose, nutrient rich, slightly acidic soil.  The soil must be well drained.  Plant 10 - 12 inches deep and work in  one to two inches of organic compost.  Make a two inch deep hole and plant unpeeled cloves about six inches apart with the pointed end up.  Cover the soil with three to four inches of mulch to help insulate the soil.  In the spring as growth begins, do a soil test.  Garlic needs a slightly acidic soil ( a pH of about 6.5).  Apply a light application of 10-10-10 or 5-10-5 fertilizer  to provide a boost.   Keep well watered druing the gowing season.  When the leaves begin to brown and fall over, check the unerground cloves.   Harvest when the cloves have noticeable segments, but before they expand enough to break out of their papery skins.  Air dry the cloves for  7 to 10 days in a well ventilated, shady area to prepare them for stoage in a refrigerator or cool, dry spot.  Remove excess soil, but do not wash.