Growing Garlic is Easy

Growing garlic is easy and it's so nice to use it when cooking.
Around Columbus Weekend in upstate New York is a good time to plant garlic. You want to plant garlic early enough that the roots start to form and attach themselves to their surrounding soil. But you don't want to plant garlic so early that the shoots start to grow. So where I live, now is garlic planting time
Weed the soil and work it so that it's crumbly about 6" deep. To know how much area to prepare plan on planting the cloves 6" apart in rows between 12" and 18" apart.
Make a furrow about 4" deep for the garlic. Under each clove put 2 tbsp. of vermicompost. Plant the clove so that the top is as deep as twice the length of the clove with the point side up. Cover with soil and firm.
Apply 4" of mulch (dead grass, dead leaves, etc.) over all the garlic. The mulch will protect the garlic in the winter from freezing and thawing, help reatain moisture and keep down weeds.
In the spring you will see the green shoots of the garlic bulbs pushing up through the soil.
When the scapes start to form cut them off and use to flavor your food. The scapes will rob the bulb of energy and stunt their growth.
Make sure the garlic has ample amounts of water through the summer.
In August, extra water isn't needed anymore because the garlic will start to die off.
When there is more yellow and brown leaves then green, often in early September, it's time to harvest the garlic.
Make sure to dig back far enough and deep enough from the garlic bulbs so that you don't damage them. After loosening the soil gently free the garlic.
So that the garlic can dry keep it out of direct sunlight but not where it can get wet, also in a place where it can get air movement such as a covered porch, cellar or garage. It will also help the garlic to dry if placed on newpapers, wire racks or some other open container. This year I use an old plastic milk crate.
After a couple of weeks of drying your garlic is ready to use over the winter. Don't forget to plant some of the cloves every year and you can always have home grown garlic.
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