The Q&A Archives: Growing Garlic

Question: For my area what is the best type of garlic to grow, the best time to buy, the best time to plant and the best soil in which to plant.

Answer: There are two types of garlic; soft-neck and hard-neck. Choose the soft-neck if you want to make garlic braids. Hard-neck garlic will send out a flower shoot in the spring. (Remove this to promote larger garlic cloves.) There are other differences in garlic types; soft-neck garlic has smaller cloves, but has a longer storage capability, and is easier to grow. Hard-neck garlic is more prone to bolting, and doesn't keep as well, but has a better flavor. All garlic grows best in deep, rich soil and full sun. Plant garlic in the fall so roots can grow before winter weather arrives. In the spring, when leaves sprout, fertilize with fish-emulsion to promote leaf growth, and keep well-watered.Choose the largest cloves you can find for planting, and space the cloves 4"-6" apart, and 1"-2" inches deep. When leaves begin to yellow at the end of the summer season, check maturity by lifting a bulb. If you harvest too early, you'll sacrifice size. If you harvest too late, the papery outer shell will have begun to deteriorate, making storage life shorter. Good luck with your garlic!

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