HOW TO PLANT GARLIC
It’s hard to compete with the amazing superfood health benefits of humble garlic, and it’s hard to do without it in so many of our favorite dishes. It’s endured as a popular medicine for thousands of years but modern science has been able to show how it is proven to be good for you!
Growing your own garlic at home is simple, but an exercise in patience. It might be a good idea to plant in the fall to get a better harvest, but whenever you choose to plant you’ll be delighted by fresh home-grown flavor making your dishes even better than normal.
WHY PLANT GARLIC?
For ages, garlic has had a reputation for possessing healing properties, and we’ve now been able to break down why our bodies (in addition to our noses and taste buds) love garlic so much.
Eating garlic has been shown to boost the immune system— perfect for winter cold and flu season. It’s also bursting with vitamin C and iodine, has antibiotic properties that we’ve used since the early 20th century, and it can help reduce plaque in the walls of your veins and arteries. Last but not least, it has even been shown to slow cancerous tumor growth and is full of cancer-fighting vitamin B6.
Whatever stock that you put in the health benefits and nutritional content of garlic, we can’t deny that it makes its way into our food because it’s just so darn delicious. Fresh garlic already elevates a dish over the dried stuff, but straight from the garden is the perfect way to make your dinnertime spread even more impressive.
If you do eat garlic frequently, which is likely if you start to grow your own considering it’s nearly addictive, it’s useful to know that chewing on some parsley sprigs is a tasty way to get rid of the garlic lingering on your breath, which your partner and family might thank you for.
GARLIC PLANTING GUIDE
Growing your own garlic requires some patience and not much else. You’ll love the taste that they have straight from your garden, and you’ll appreciate the money-saving of growing at home!
In warm climates, the summer season is long enough to grow a great crop of garlic, but given our shorter growing season, it’s best to plant your crop in the fall so that they have a little bit of extra time to grow and mature.
Start by choosing your bulbs. Pick the largest ones with the fattest cloves that you can find. Like any other bulb-growing plant, size matters and starting off right makes all the difference. Avoid any bulbs that are squishy as that could be an early sign of mold or fungus.
The best time for planting is in October, letting your garlic establish a root system before the cold winter weather starts to set in. If you plant too early, though, the sprouts might break the surface and grow too much, making the bulbs too vulnerable. Finding that perfect balance is the key here, and mid-to-late October is a perfect time.
Break the bulb into individual cloves, but don’t try to peel them. The papery lining will help to protect them as they mature into their own bulb. Plant in a part of your garden that has well-draining, sandy soil and as much sun as you can get. Make sure that you mark out the spot that you planted so that you don’t lose your garlic while you wait for it to sprout. Keep an eye out for weeds while your garlic is growing though because your little garlic sprouts hate competition.
Plant your garlic 6-8” apart and sprinkle a little bit of bone meal into their holes as you go along. Plant them so that the top of the clove is about 2” below the surface. It’s a great idea to spread 3-4” of clean mulch on top of your garlic. We love cedar or straw to help to insulate the bulb in the winter.
After planting, the waiting begins! Spend your winter dreaming up recipes full of this strong and potent seasoning because your garlic will be all ready to go in the summer. Keep an eye out for the bottom few leaves dying off to show you that your cloves are ready to harvest.
Garlic is one of our favorite spices, and it’s so easy to grow in your own backyard! Everything tastes better when it has your garden’s love in it, and you’ll be ready to spread that love into your kitchen after a little bit of waiting. Just be prepared for how much deliciousness your garden can grow for you with a bit of patience and love!