For those of you who are not quite ready to put your garden to bed for the winter, consider planting garlic! I’ve only been growing garlic for a few years after my good friend, Katie, told me about it. It’s a wonderful crop to plant for many reasons. First of all, it’s damn delicious! Like most things you grow yourself, it will outshine anything you can buy in a store. The garlic cloves are juicy and amazingly flavorful. Because garlic is a base for so much cooking, you’ll really notice a difference. Secondly, garlic is easy to plant and takes about nine months to grow. This is really nice if you have a raised bed that you’d like to just plant and forget about for a while. You can still feel like an accomplished gardener! I planted one raised bed with garlic and all I need to do now is keep it weed free, fertilize in the early spring, and then water during the growing season. It’ll be harvested around mid-July. This year I harvested garlic and let it dry out in my garage. Admittedly, I forgot about the garlic and just took it out of the garage a week or so ago! It’s perfect and will store great in a dark cabinet in my kitchen. If I’ve convinced you to try, here are the steps:
- Go buy garlic at a local nursery- you don’t want to plant the garlic that you buy at the grocery store. This year I planted two varieties of soft neck garlic, Italian Late and Western Rose.
- Add organic compost to your planting bed- chicken manure is a great bet.
- The garlic comes in heads, just like you’d buy at the grocery store for cooking. You split up the head into individual cloves and each clove will grow into a new head of garlic.
- Plant the garlic, pointy side up, 4 to 6 inches apart, cover with 1-2″ of soil.
- Water in and wish it luck over the winter!
- In the spring, fertilize with a nitrogen rich organic fertilizer to promote green growth