I’ve been preparing to plant my spring garden and am planning to include some garlic again this year. It seems like we use garlic in just about every meal so why not grow it? I must confess my last attempt didn’t go so well. I think I was sold some of very old bulbs for my starts because the percentage of successful sprouts was pretty low. I’ll make sure I get good bulbs this year. Make sure they feel solid and full and are not missing any cloves.
There are over 600 types of garlic, also know as Allium sativum. Garlic is related to onions, chives and the leek family. There are a bunch of different varieties but they can all be lumped into one of two groups, Hardneck garlic and Softneck garlic. The Softnecks are what I will be planting this spring and a couple of good varieties are Early Italian, Artichoke, Silverskin, and Purple Garlic. The Hardneck can only be planted on the fall and a couple of good varieties are Porcelain, German Red (huge) , Purple Stripe, and Asian.
Homegrown garlic is potent stuff and tastes way better than the garlic you get at the supermarket, so be prepared for a treat.
Garlic is pretty easy to grow and does well as long as you have a well draining soil. It also prefers it on the hot side but will do well in almost any climate except maybe the humid states like Florida.
To plant garlic you gently break apart the cloves and tuck them into your prepared soil, roots down. They just need a little bit of cover so keep them shallow, an inch of cover is perfect. I like to space them out so the bulbs can really get big. Space them 4-6 inches apart if you have the room. You should start to see green shoots in about three weeks. Keep them watered and plan on harvesting in about four months. You can leave them in longer if the weather is still warm and they are still growing. You will see the leaves start to turn brown and that’s a sign it will soon be time to harvest. I like to tie my drying leaves in a knot and let the garlic stay in the ground as long as I can so they will get nice and big.
Once you have gently removed them from the ground, just brush them off and let dry in a cool dry location (not in direct sunlight) Garlic will store for quite a while if you keep it dry and cool.
I’ve never tried garlic in a pot or tub but I don’t see why you couldn’t grow it that way.
Happy planting and keep the breath mints handy,