October 18, 2019
Organic garlic is denser, more flavorful and lasts longer in storage ....may even over winter better in colder regions!
Locally grown garlic is the best...the farmers have done all the hard work for you by trialing many different varieties and selling only the most successful ones that are productive. Hardneck varieties are the best for overwintering in colder regions.
Here on the farm, we plant cloves at the end of October 4 to 6 " inches deep with plenty of organic compost -garlic is a heavy feeder. Cover with a straw mulch for overwintering protection.
Once spring has arrived, the garlic will start to sprout, at this time mulch with more straw to smother any weed seeds, moderate soil temperature and maintain moisture. Note, adding too much mulch too soon before the garlic has sprouted can bury the tops. Timing is everything.
Garlic scapes will appear once the garlic is in full growth in late June. You can harvest these scapes for bulbils to plant out or make pesto. Either way, you must take the scapes off in order for the bulb to grow to full size otherwise the scape will take all the energy away from the bulb and you will be left with a much smaller bulb at harvest time.
Garlic is pulled once the leaves die back, usually mid July. Pull, hang to dry in a dark, warm and airy spot.....usually in a shed or barn. Your garlic will be cured in a couple of weeks and will be ready to store for later use or plant out again mid October for next years crop.
Beware of the leek moth!!! Your first year of growing garlic may be successful but this pest sneaks in and usually infest plants in the 1st year without the grower being aware that it is there. A cover crop of mustard tilled into the planting bed 6 weeks prior to planting fall garlic will bio-fumigate the pest in the soil and also condition the soil with organic matter. This procedure will also rid the soil of harmful nematodes and wire worms. (check out the cover crop selections on this site for more tips).
Happy garlic growing!
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