Monday, February 11, 2013 How to Grow Garlic at Home
If you have ever cooked with garlic then you already know the wonderful aroma garlic emits. Whether you are frying garlic up to mix with some onions for a steak or adding garlic to a sauce, garlic is the epitome of recipe versatility.

So it makes you wonder why garlic is not grown more at home. Garlic is easy to grow, as you will see, all you need to do is get the space ready in your garden, set up your soil and choose a variety.

Letís start with the space your garlic will need. This will depend on how much garlic you want to grow, but when planning, account for 6 inches of space between each garlic clove planted. In a four foot by four foot raised bed, that accounts for ninety-six garlic cloves planted (if my math serves me correctly). If that amount is too much, and really, can you plant too much garlic? Just be sure to down size accordingly.

Now that you know your space, you need to set up the soil your garlic is going to grow in. Garlic loves soil that is rich in organic matter and drains very well. If you are planting your garlic in a raised bed that will help with the drainage. As for the soil itself, mixing in some peat or coir with finished compost or even well seasoned manure along with some perlite or vermiculite will go a long way. As a side note, try to keep your soilís pH above 5.8 but less than 7.

When planting the garlic clove, the pointed end should be facing up. If you plant the clove upside down your garlic will develop a curved shoot and that will lead to misshapen bulbs.

Garlic comes in two basic varieties, hard neck and soft neck. They are then broken down into a larger number of types. Your local garden center or co-op can tell you which types grow best in your area.

While you can plant the cloves from the garlic available at your local supermarket, it is not recommended. You will not be sure which variety of garlic you are getting or whether or not that garlic can even grow in your area. Purchase plantable garlic cloves from your local garden center, organic if possible.

Once you have your garlic cloves planted, be sure to cover with 3 inches of mulch to help protect them from potential frost. Straw or hay works great. This helps protect your cloves as well as keep weeds to a minimum. It also helps conserve moisture in the soil.

The soil for your garlic needs to be moist. Water regularly, however, do not overwater. You donít want to saturate the soil.

The best rule of thumb when it comes to harvesting your garlic is, when half your leaves are brown and the other half are green, your garlic is ready to be pulled. This may vary based on variety and your location, but itís a good rule to get you going.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, the moderator for the largest vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the Seeds of the month Club.


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