Plant in full sun.
Don’t overwater to prevent rotting bulbs. Instead, mulch the area with straw to retain moisture.
Plant cloves in mid October before the freeze. Also know what you’re planting. Grow soft neck varieties for storage and hard neck for larger cloves, and mainly consuming sooner than later. Elephant garlic is awesome and easy to peel. But it doesn’t last super long.
Buy quality seed. We like
A small sprinkle of slow release fertilizer in each hole when planting really helps out cloves as they establish roots. For a more permaculture approach, use biodegradable materials to improve soil quality and replace needed nutrients (i.e. comfrey, compost, etc.).
In addition to full sun and water, fertilize every 2-3 weeks with liquid kelp.
Keep weed free and avoid walking in growing areas to avoid compacting the soil.
When scapes appear on hardneck varieties, cut them before they blossom. This keeps the plant’s energy going towards the bulb and not reproducing via flower pollen.
Many sources say to harvest when the foliage of the plant is 2/3 yellow-brown. I don’t as this opens up the possibility of rotting bulbs! I harvest after a week or two of cutting scapes.
After harvesting, shake off excess dirt. Braid and hang softneck varieties in small groups or bundle hardneck varieties and hang. Air flow is key!
Make sure the bulbs cure for about three weeks in a dry, cool location.
After 3 weeks, de-stem, remove roots with scissors and store in braids or porous baskets.
Pro Tip: Garlic is a great companion plant for broccoli, cauliflower and other brassicas. If you plant rows 12” apart, you can leave space to interplant these crops in the spring.
You have the choice between two kinds- hardneck and softneck. Within both of those there are dozens of different cultivars, but knowing the difference in hard vs soft is very helpful for choosing the right kinds for your zone. Softneck garlic is usually what you are finding at the grocery store. Those varieties tend to have a longer and more stable shelf life. Softneck garlic in my opinion is also less flavorful, or should I less more mild to the taste buds. It's a more "well-rounded" choice when it comes to an all purpose garlic. These do NOT have scapes. Softneck garlic grows best in warmer climates, however we do grow some here and we get some pretty harsh winters.
Then you have hardneck garlic. We grow 80% hardneck here on our homestead. It does better in colder climates like ours. Hardneck garlic is the superior choice for colder climates because it requires prolonged exposure to cold weather of at least 40 days at 40 degrees F (or even less). This process is called vernalization. We also like hardneck garlic better because of the scapes! Those are the curly-q things that come up in the middle of the stalk. Usually a few weeks before the garlic is ready for harvest. It is like a bonus crop.
With all of that being said, play around with it. Garlic is SO easy to grow and once you start you won't stop. You will plant more and more each year. Trust me.
Garlic requires full- sun. That is considered at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Garlic likes to be planted in a well-draining soil that has a neutral (or even slightly acidic) pH. By doing a soil test in fall, you can learn what and how you should