Garlic from the garden
image by Ian-S/Flickr.com
Garlic is one of those foods that you either hate or love. Even if you hate it, you will find that it works as a natural pest deterrent when grown on the outside of your garden. It is easy enough to find a neighbor, family member or coworker who will take it off your hands. Garlic is easy to grow when you start with a few tips.
Decide on your planting location. Garlic loves sun but hates sopping wet soil. You will need a well-drained soil for best results. If your soil is more clay-based, add compost until the soil breaks apart easily. Garlic may be planted in winter or early spring.
Grow a garlic plant at the end of each vegetable garden row, if you prefer. However, if you like garlic, plant it in rows. Make a row with your hoe. With the right side pointed downward, draw it along the soil to make a line. The soil will make a long hill to your left. With the left side of the hoe pointed downward, make another line to the left of the hill, parallel to the first line. This is your first row and can be as long as you like.
Make a second row, approximately 18 to 20 inches parallel to the first row, and repeat the process. Continue in this manner until you have the number of garlic rows you prefer.
Break the garlic bulb apart into individual cloves.
Plant each clove by itself. The point should be facing upward, just as flower bulbs are planted. Place them 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart, on the row top. Cover each clove with soil. Different types of garlic may have alternate planting requirements, so always follow package directions for planting.
Keep the soil moist but not sopping, until you see growth sprout from the soil. You may then start adding water to the moat created on each side of your row from your hoe. This will ensure that the roots grow downward.
Harvest your garlic when the plant leaves turn yellow and brown and begin to fall off. When you dig up the garlic you will find a bulb with many cloves. Hang the garlic in a cool, dry location. After a week it will be dried out and ready for use.