HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC
“Autumn, the years last, loveliest smile.”
William Cullen Bryant
Last weekend we had a beautiful warm fall day so we decided to do the last couple things in our tiny garden before everything slows down for winter. We still had a couple tomatoes and zucchinis to harvest and most excitingly we had GARLIC to plant.
Garlic belongs to the genus Allium and has been used by humans for thousands of years. Apparently the farmers in Mesopotamia already grew garlic 3000 BCE and the Egyptians fed garlic to their slaves to keep them healthy (source). Today we find garlic in almost every cuisine and our kitchen is no exception so I was extra excited to grow a plant that we use in our home pretty much every day.
Planting garlic is an easy process and you can decide whether you want to plant it in the spring or the fall. Most people plant in the fall though because then the plant can already start growing its roots until it freezes and will continue growing in the spring as soon as the soil warms up again. That way you will get bigger bulbs to harvest in the summer which is a big pro for cooking!
To plant your own garlic you only need a couple of garlic bulbs that you will separate into the individual cloves.
When you pick out the garlic you want to plant make sure you pick healthy bulbs that are from your area or at least from a place that has a similar climate.
If you take bulbs from the store it is really likely that it came from far away, like China since they produce 80 percent of the worlds garlic supply! (source)
I actually only found out about this through writing this up for you so now I am even more stoked about growing garlic just five meters outside the door.
Before putting the cloves in the ground we need to have a look at our soil. Garlic likes fluffy, well drained soil that has lots of nutrients, so to prepare our bed we took out the plants that were still in the ground, then brook up the soil and added some compost.
After mixing in the compost in we flattened everything out and started the plant holes.
With a little shovel or your hand make a hole that is 2 inches (5 cm) deep, then leave about 6 inches (15 cm) until the next one. Between rows we kept around 8 inches (20 cm) distance.
Then place your garlic with the pointy side facing up in your plant hole and cover it with soil. The clove should have at least around 6 – 8 weeks before the first frost arrives so it can form strong roots. To protect the plant and the soil you can also add a layer of mulch, which I am planning to do with all the leaves that are now falling from the trees.
And that’s it, you’re done for this year and can only patiently wait for spring to arrive. I am still waiting for my garlic to show its green tip at the surface of the soil and I find myself checking the bed more than once a day. But that is autumn, everything is slowing down and the hot days where you would plant a seed and it felt like the next day it was already sprouting are over.
I hope you can still manage to squeeze in some garlic cloves before we head into the cold days and I will keep updating you on our project of growing our own garlic.