Oh my gosh, have you ever had the chance to plant garlic? Once you grow garlic there is no going back to buying garlic at the stores. It tastes so much better and is so easy to grow, anyone can do it. Did you know that within those garlic bulbs is a chemical called allicin? That’s where the aroma comes from. I bet you can almost smell the garlic, right?
I quote Wikipedia, “When fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic. The allicin generated is unstable and quickly changes into a series of other sulfur-containing compounds, such as diallyl disulfide.”
Mark and I are rarely sick and I’m sure it has to do with the amount of garlic we put in our meals each day. I make a garlic soup to take to people who are sick to ward off severe colds and flu. When you feel that scratchy throat feeling, you may want to make this soup. I’m not saying it will cure a cold, but the warm soup may clean out the gunk in your throat and sinuses. My recipe is at the bottom of this post.
Buying Seed Garlic
My favorite place to order seed garlic: Non-Gmo Organic Seeds Be prepared for sticker shock when you see the prices of seed garlic. Just remember after the first investment, you can save some of the larger bulbs for seed next year. If you plant correctly, you will always have seeds to plant year after year. Just buy right the first time.
Two Categories of Garlic
Hard Neck Garlic
This type of garlic will have flowers (scape) a few weeks before the bulb is ready to harvest. The scape is the bud of the garlic and is edible. You want to remove the flowers (scape) to allow the plant to devote its energy to grow a larger bulb. This one is perfect for cold climate areas. You may want to check your Zone for planting, they are good to grow up to about Zone 6. Check Your Zone
You will get two harvests if you plant it at the right time. I like to order the seed garlic online to get the very best ones to plant. If you have a good local nursery they may have the seeds that work for your climate. Hard necks do not store as long as soft necks, so go ahead and eat them within 3-6 months. The skins come off easier than the soft neck varieties.
Soft Neck Garlic
This typically is what you find in the grocery stores. It usually comes from California and Mexico, or another warm climate area. The bulb has a mild flavor. This one braids really easily and makes a great gift for friends and family when braided. Check Your Zone
When to Plant Garlic
The best time to plant garlic is in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before your very first frost. Here in Southern Utah, our planting date is the middle of October. I’m in Zone 8A. Please check your Zone for planting times. This is when I really wish I had a Green House. I would love to plant year round. We usually harvest in June.
Plant garlic cloves in mid-fall in a sunny location in a dark loamy soil, remove any visible rocks. After you separate the garlic bulb into cloves plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down. Put down 6 inches of mulch for winter protection.
The plants will go dormant naturally over the winter and the mulch helps keep the soil temperatures alternate from freezing and thawing. Once the ground freezes add another layer of mulch. The goal of planting in the fall is to give the bulbs a head start by sending out roots. Once the soil starts to warm in the spring the plants start growing again. Note that garlic grows best when it can receive six full hours of full sun each day.
Plant garlic cloves as early in spring as you can when your soil can be worked about the same time as you plant onion sets. After you separate the garlic bulb into cloves plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down. Note that garlic grows best when it can receive six full hours of full sun each day.
Where to Plant Garlic
Please choose a spot in your garden or raised garden bed where garlic or onion has not been planted before. Garlic takes very little space in the garden. Make sure the water will drain from the plants, they do not like standing water. Disease and rotting may occur. The soil must be fertile, and like I said, well-drained. Work your compost into the soil and the best fertilizer is 10-10-10.
Please do not let the soil get too much water, they need to be watered, but not overly watered. The soil must not be constantly wet. Be sure to prepare your soil with some good organic soil. You may want to look at my post on Replenishing Your Soil.
After you separate the garlic into cloves plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down.
When you plant garlic you can usually harvest your garlic bulbs in 6-9 months depending on the variety you choose to plant.
Garlic Harvest and Storage
You will know when the garlic is ready to harvest when most of the leaves have turned brown. You may want to set aside some of the largest bulbs for next years planting. Each bulb typically has 5-10 cloves.
Please remove the dirty soiled skins and cut the tops off at 1-2 inches above the garlic bulbs and store the loose bulbs in a dry, cool, breezy place in baskets. If you want to braid the stems and hang on strings please bend the stem over about 2-inches above the ground to dry the stems before braiding.
Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 cans of chicken (12.5 ounces each drained or substitute 2 cups of cooked chicken)
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 cup Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base or substitute equal amounts of water with chicken broth
- 3/4 cup freeze-dried onions or 1 fresh onion chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3/4 cup dry dehydrated carrots or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh carrots
- 3/4 cup dry freeze dried celery or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh celery
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 package Grandma’s frozen egg noodles (11-ounces cooked and separated as directed or boil your pasta of choice)
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup undiluted optional
- 1 bulb fresh garlic
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours, BUT add the Grandma’s Noodle the last two hours or they will be mushy. Enjoy!
Let me know when you plant garlic in your area, and how you store it? Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.
My Favorite Things
Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite