Nine months may seem like a long time to wait for just some garlic, but it's well worth the wait!
When planting garlic it is best to plant from mid-September to late October. Garlic grows very well in cooler weather and that is why it is best to plant in the fall. Garlic cloves require about 9 months to fully develop. A Fall planting is next years summer harvest!
Now it's time to plant it in the ground. Choose a bulb that is a good size and fairly firm. Break it apart into separate cloves. The paper wrapping can stay on the cloves, it makes no difference. When choosing a spot to plant the garlic, make sure that the soil is well drained, but still moist.
How deep to plant the garlic cloves depends on your climate. In mild winter areas, the garlic can be planted 1-2 inches deep. In a severe winter climate, the garlic should be planted 2-4 inches deep.
The minimum spacing should be 4 inches apart between cloves and 8 inches apart in rows.. To grow large garlic bulbs, space the cloves 6 inches apart and the row 12 inches apart for best results. Soon after planting the cloves, spread mulch over the area. In spring, the garlic begins to grow. To help the garlic grow to its full potential, keep the soil evenly moist and keep the area weed free.
To help the garlic grow, sprinkle a bit of manure or compost around the area. As nitrogen is one of garlic’s major nutrient requirements, foliar fertilizer is beneficial. From personal experience, we highly recommend the use of Gaia Green Fertilizers on garlic. The results are spectacular!
Summer is when the garlic is maturing and almost ready to harvest. Harvesting can be a bit tricky. When the bulbs are maturing, the leaves will start to turn yellow and brown. If two thirds of the leaves are brown then the garlic is ready to harvest. In our area, this us usually between July-August.
To harvest, just loosen the soil around the bulbs by using a digging fork. Gently retrieve the garlic bulbs and brush off the excess dirt right away and do not wash the garlic. After harvesting your now beautiful garlic bulbs, it’s time to cure them. Tie loosely together by the leaves or stalks of 8-12 plants in a bundle and hang under an area that has a cover. If the leaves or stalks are kept attached to the bulb, the garlic can be stored longer.
Curing can take 2-3 weeks or up to 2 months depending on the humidity and the air circulation. If you choose not to hang the bulbs and are storing them in sacks, cut off the stocks about 1/2 an inch above the bulb. Gently clean off the bulb with a soft brush avoiding tearing the paper off.
The last step that is needed from growing your own garlic is knowing how to store it properly. The garlic should be stored in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Softneck types of garlic will produce smaller cloves, but will keep for longer. The hardneck varieties of garlic have a shorter shelf life, but will produce larger cloves. Enjoy your home grown garlic that will add great flavor to all your meals!
Types Of Garlic
This year (2015), we are proud to offer a large and diverse selection of garlic, including the ever popular Red Russian Garlic variety. This year's line up includes:
Bogatyr garlic is known as the marbled purple stripe garlic for its bold colours. The Bogatyr bulbs are small and will normally grow 5-6 cloves in one bulb. Though it has less cloves, the flavour is hot and spicy. Known to be one of the hottest garlics in the hardnek variety.
Duganski garlic comes wrapped in a purple colour wrapper. With its bold hot taste there are 8-12 cloves that can be used. This type of garlic stores very well for up to 8-10 months.
It’s all in the name. Every bulb is huge and a clove can almost be the size of a bulb of ordinary garlic. Though it may seem like it should have a strong taste, Elephant Garlic is actually rather sweet, less intense than other garlics.
German hardneck is great for roasting from the large cloves. Each bulb will typically grow to 1 ½ to 2 inches. The German Hardneck garlic will produce a woody flower stalk and has many great flavours to it.
Legacy garlic will produce 7-9 cloves in each bulb. This type of garlic does extremely well in cold climates. The flavour of this garlic is rich and spicy, best when it’s fresh.
When matured, the Metechi garlic has a very strong taste but great for cooking. Each bulb grows 5-7 very large cloves and it stores very well, for they stay firmer for longer.
Mexican Purple Garlic
Mexican Purple Garlic is incredibly popular in parts of South America and Mexico. Not generally available in North America, but it is quickly gaining popularity. The garlic has a hot flavor raw, but becomes milder when baked. Typically yields at least 8 cloves per bulb.
Music garlic is part of the hardneck variety that have more subtle flvours. These cloves store 3-6 months in a dry cool area. The flavour that this garlic has is a medium to hot flavour with a rich taste.
Russian red garlic grows 6-8 large cloves with a hot, but barable taste. The Russian Red is a very popular variety in garlic. The bulbs will have a slightly purple colour to them. This year we are also caring an organic Russian Red Bulk Garlic. Call us for details!
Regular White Garlic
The standard in produce departments, the regular white garlic is solid light coloured, with little if any streaking. Good dependable flavor and production.
The Siberian garlic thrives in cold weather. It produces a garlic that has a medium to strong flavour that will be great in any dish. The large bulbs normally produce 5-9 good size cloves. The outer wrapping of the bulb has a purple hue to it.
At publish date, September 2015, all of these varieties were available and in-stock. As always, call ahead, 604.882.1201, to confirm availability. They will also be available soon for online purchase (In Canada), while qty's last.
Special thanks to Kara, on our always cheerful Cashiers for compiling and documenting the contents of this post! She now knows more about garlic than she ever knew possible!