The Q&A Archives: Growing Garlic

Question: I have never planted garlic bulbs, but would like to give it a try. Do I need special bulbs to plant, or can I plant the grocery store variety? And, am I too late to plant them in my area?

Answer: Garlic is easy to grow, but don't plant the kind you buy in the grocery store because they may have been treated with a growth inhibitor. Garlic grows best in deep, rich soil, and full sun. You can plant cloves now to give them time to develop some roots before cold weather sets in. Space the cloves 4-6 inches apart and 1-2 inches deep in rows 12-18 inches apart. In the spring, when the foliage begins to grow, apply fish emulsion every two weeks to promote green growth. Then keep the plants watered (1 inch per week) all season long. When the foliage yellows and dies back, the garlic should be ready to harvest. If a flower stalk develops in the center of the plant, cut it down before it flowers or the plant's energy will go into developing seeds instead of producing plump cloves. Harvest carefully so you don't tear the papery outer covering of the garlic. Cure in a hot, dry, dark, airy place for a few weeks. Then store in a cool, dark location until you're ready to enjoy your garlic.

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