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How to Successfully Grow Garlic in Your Garden: A Complete Guide

Garlic holds a special place in my heart. In my upbringing, my mother incorporated garlic into nearly every dish. Whenever a recipe calls for garlic, I tend to double the recommended amount. Fun fact: did you know garlic possesses natural antibiotic properties? Sometimes, I even consume a whole clove raw, followed by a spoonful of raw honey, especially when combatting cold symptoms – it's quite effective.

Moving on, cultivating garlic is relatively straightforward, provided you select the appropriate variety for your climate. There are two main types: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic develops a lengthy stem and produces scapes at the tip, eventually blossoming into flowers.

Hardneck garlic varieties typically contain fewer cloves but boast a richer flavor compared to softnecks. Additionally, they are renowned for their easier peeling process. While hardnecks have a shorter storage life than softnecks, they still endure sufficiently through the off-season. Hence, if you reside in a colder climate, hardneck garlic is the optimal choice for you.

Conversely, if you're situated in a warmer region like myself, softneck garlic thrives better, as it struggles in colder climates. When stored correctly, softneck garlic can last for nearly a year. Unlike hardnecks, they do not produce scapes, and their stalks are pliable, allowing for easy twisting or braiding. Personally, I prefer braiding them and hanging them in the garage for drying, a process that typically takes about 2-3 weeks.

Harvested earlier this yr. I saved some cloves which I planted this fall, in addition to bulbs I purchased from SeedsNow.

Hardneck garlic varieties typically yield a greater number of cloves compared to softnecks, with variations in clove size even within a single bulb.

Planting Instructions:

Sow garlic in the autumn, preceding the onset of the first frost in your region. This timing allows for the development of a robust root system before winter sets in. In my recent planting experience, I opted to sow garlic both before and after the frost, given the mild conditions. When preparing for planting, separate the cloves from the bulb without removing their protective skin. This outer layer is essential for preventing garlic from rotting, so it's crucial to keep each clove intact.

Ensure each clove is buried at a depth of at least 3 inches into the soil, spacing them apart by 4 to 5 inches. Employ mulch for protection, such as EZ Straw, which I've found to be quite effective in my gardening endeavors.

Once mulched, thoroughly water the garlic bed and your task is complete. If you observe shoots emerging prematurely, don't worry; this is normal, and they'll likely wither and re-emerge in spring. Garlic typically matures over 8-9 months, ready for harvesting in early summer when the bottom leaves turn yellow or brown.

This year, I've planted nearly 80 cloves of garlic, my largest planting to date. I'm excited to experiment with making my own garlic powder. Stay tuned for updates in early summer to see how it turns out!

Happy gardening!

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