Garlic is a common good-for-you vegetable that many people use in their cooking to provide and enhance flavors.
Almost every savory dish calls for garlic. And not only does it taste great, it’s also healthy for you.
Garlic contains plenty of antioxidants that can help fight disease and even act as an anti-inflammatory.
Growing garlic yourself may be beneficial, especially if you do a lot of cooking.
But, if you’re thinking of planting garlic in your backyard, you need to know the process.
Invest in Quality Seeds
Before you get too excited and run to the store, you should know where to find quality seeds.
Don’t buy just any seeds you find! To grow garlic from scratch, you will need to buy high-quality garlic seeds.
If you do this, your garlic seeds will have a much better chance of germination, the process of sprouting from the seed.
What Kind of Garlic Should You Plant?
Believe it or not, there are multiple types of garlic that you can grow. Your garlic options include:
- Softneck garlic variations
- Hardneck garlic variations
- Elephant garlic
Softneck garlic varieties do well in mild climates, and similar to their environment, the taste is on the milder side.
This garlic variety has many cloves within each bulb, but they range in size.
Softneck garlic is the variety you’ll see in your local grocery store because they have a long shelf life.
Hardneck garlic grows long stems that develop into flowers.
Each bulb of garlic contains fewer, larger cloves, and this type of garlic can handle the cold very well.
People typically plant this garlic in areas where winters are harsh and cold.
Hardneck garlic has a much stronger taste than softneck varieties, but, sadly, you won’t usually find hardneck garlic in grocery stores.
This is because their shelf life is much shorter compared to softneck garlic.
Elephant garlic isn’t in the garlic family at all. It’s in the onion family, but it does have a very mild garlic taste.
They have long stalks that grow beautiful purple flowers, and the garlic bulbs can grow larger than your hand.
The bulbs look like garlic, but they’re massive compared to regular-sized garlic.
When and How to Plant Garlic
Plant your garlic seeds in the fall. September and November are the best months for this, right before the temperatures start dropping significantly.
The seeds need to be in the ground weeks before the temperatures reach freezing point.
To grow your garlic, you will need to start by digging a garden area for the bulbs to grow.
Once you find your designated area, you will need to dig holes that are a few inches deep and a few inches apart.
Drop the seeds in the holes and cover them with dirt loosely. Make sure to water the garlic often and apply fertilizer every once in a while.
If you live in a cold climate, you should cover the garlic beds with straw or mulch to keep the roots from freezing.
As long as you water, fertilize, and weed your garlic beds, the garlic should grow perfectly fine.
How to Harvest and Store Garlic
You should notice that your garlic seeds are sprouting when springtime comes around.
Keep taking care of your garlic plants, and they should be ready to harvest by June or July.
You can tell your garlic is ready for harvest when the leaves start to droop and yellow.
Do not harvest before this because the cloves may not be fully developed.
To harvest garlic, you should first loosen the dirt around the stalk.
You want the process to go as smoothly as possible and don’t want to force the garlic bulbs out of the ground.
After loosening the dirt, you can gently pull the stalk closest to the base. The bulbs should come up easily without needing too much force.
After you harvest all your garlic, you will want to start the storing process if you are not immediately using it.
You can use garlic right out of the ground, but you need to cure it if you plan on storing it.
To do this, keep the stalks intact and lay or hand the garlic out to dry in a well-ventilated indoor area.
After about two weeks, the skin of each bulb should be dry, and this is when you can cut the stalks off.
When storing your garlic bulbs, you need to put them in a dry, dark, ventilated area.
Doing this will prevent any sprouting and molding.
The bulbs can last up to a few months at room temperature, but they can last much longer if the temperature is cooler.
Before You Go
It is relatively easy to plant and take care of garlic. So, if you are thinking of growing it yourself, it is definitely worth a try.
Take care of your garlic crops and you will have fresh garlic in no time.