How to: Planting garlic
Hey guys! Today I will be talking about planting garlic. I'm gonna start off with a bit of basic information for you. Allium sativum, aka garlic, is a fall bulb. This means we plant it in the fall when it's still slightly warm enough for the crop to establish roots. It stays in the ground throughout the winter, and as the temps start to rise in the spring, the garlic will sprout. People often come in and ask me for garlic bulbs in the spring. While it is technically possible to grow them by planting in the spring, there is many more outstanding advantages to planting the bulbs in the fall. If garlic is planted in the spring, it will not reach it's full maturity. Believe it or not, garlics full growing time is about 8-9 months. Crazy right?
Let's get to the good part. The "how to" of planting garlic.
How to plant garlic
1. Plan to plant garlic in fall about 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.
2. Garlic grows best in loose, well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients. Garlic bulbs will rot in wet, clay. Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 8" and mix in some compost or slow-release, granular organic fertilizer.
3. Just prior to planting, break up the garlic heads into individual cloves, leaving as much of the papery covering on each clove intact as possible.
4. Plant cloves 3" to 4" deep, orienting them so the pointy ends face up. The pointy end is what the scape will come out of.
5. Water gently to settle the soil, and then cover the bed with a 4" to 6" layer of straw. Even as air temperatures drop, the soil will stay warm enough for the newly planted cloves to establish roots before the ground freezes. Sometimes you'll see some green shoots form in fall; that's fine and won't harm the plants. They'll begin growing in earnest in spring.
You you are all set to plant your garlic now!!! Just get it in the ground and don't worry about it until next spring. How convenient is that?
Thanks for letting me share my knowledge with you and I hope all goes well.