We love growing garlic in our gardens. It adds some beauty, medicinal value, edible bulbs (as well as the scapes), plus it makes a great companion plant!
Garlic has a strong, pungent smell, and many garden pests really don’t like it – thank you secondary metabolites!
Plants that do better with garlic near or around them – fruit trees, roses, carrots, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant all benefit from proximity to garlic. Not only will it keep pests such as weevils and aphids at bay, but it also deters snakes and mildew. (You can also place garlic in the holes of voles and gophers to keep them from coming back to a particular area)
Before planting, choose your bulbs. We use hard necked garlic because it grows best in our area. You need to choose what works best for yours. We use bulbs we save from each year’s harvest, but if you are just starting out, ask a friend or go to a local nursery.
You’ll need to create a weed free area with good soil. You can add some compost to the soil to fertilize the bulbs. Do this in the fall about 4-6 weeks before ground begins to freeze.
Break the fresh bulb up without damaging the base of the clove or the papery coat. Plant the larger cloves 3-4″ deep and about 8″ apart, pointed end up; water well.
Cover the soil with 4″-6″ compost and/or mulch.
In the spring, you should see little green shoots popping up. As the scapes are beginning to form, remove them to keep the energy going down into the bulb.
Garlic is ready to harvest when you begin to see some of the leaves drooping or turning brown near the base. Check one to make sure it’s large enough, but don’t wait so long that the cloves begin to separate.
Make sure to properly cure your garlic harvest by laying them or hanging them to dry completely.