It’s very easy to grow garlic (Allium sativum), and now is the time to get it in the ground. Like a tulip, garlic is a bulb that needs the cold of winter and, like tulips, garlic can be planted almost anytime in the autumn as long as the ground is workable. The bulbs come in clustered segments that need to be separated before planting and, like all bulbs, must be planted pointed side up. Plant about an inch below the ground in well-drained soil. Full sun is best, but garlic can manage as long as it gets six hours of sun a day.
The hardest part of growing garlic is finding a good garlic farmer or bulb supplier. The garlic bulbs found in supermarkets have been treated to keep them from sprouting so you need something organic. It’s preferable to source your bulbs locally because it will have adapted to your area. For Zones 6 and higher, softneck varieties work fine, but choose a longneck variety if you’re planting in zones 5 or lower. To maintain warm soil temperatures, mulch with an 8-inch layer of shredded leaves or straw. Remove the mulch in early spring to allow the sun’s warmth to penetrate.
The plants are ready to be lifted from the ground when the leaves turn yellow — usually July or August. Dry the plant thoroughly in an airy, covered spot; remove leaves and store garlic bulbs in a cool frost-free place.
Written and posted by Vicki