Last updated on October 25th, 2023 at 11:07 am
Raw or cooked, garlic is a staple food found in many dishes thanks to its unique taste. But its interest is not only gustatory, it is excellent in prevention to offer an iron health and to cure already well installed evils. Indeed, in addition to being antibacterial, antifungal and very low in calories, it is rich in antioxidants, vitamins (B6 and C) and minerals (calcium, potassium…). It takes care of the heart, blood pressure and helps to manage high cholesterol levels. You think it is complicated to plant it? Dear gardening friend, you’re wrong! Here’s how to grow garlic at home with ease. And what’s more, you’ll have it all year round to flavour your culinary preparations and in the garden, it scares away many pests.
Steps to grow garlic:
1) Before planting, take your carefully chosen heads of garlic and separate the cloves, being careful not to damage the base.
2) In the garden, bury the cloves pointy side up. Remember to sow them about 10 cm apart.
3) Cover your seeds with a few centimeters of potting soil that you will keep moist, but not too much so as not to drown the garlic. You want to water enough to avoid dryness, that’s all. Indeed, it doesn’t need much water so don’t be heavy handed about watering.
4) Let it grow by cutting the flowers regularly so that the taste is concentrated in the bulb.
Garlic bulbs need 8 to 10 months to grow and the best time to plant is early spring or fall. We know it is ready to be harvested when the plant has 5 to 6 yellowish leaves. It will then need to be dried for a week in a dry, temperate place (such as a garage) before being used. Note that the green stems are edible and can therefore also be eaten like chives or aromatic herbs (parsley, basil…). Far from being comparable to weeds, these stems full of flavor are delicious in omelets or salads with tomatoes and olive oil!
Alternative technique for growing garlic:
Good news for gardeners: growing garlic is definitely very amazing! Indeed, it is also possible to put cloves in a glass with a little water (pointed part up always). All you have to do is let it germinate! Once you have obtained roots and a stem, you can plant them in the ground as explained above. The young shoots will be very easy to cultivate. Both gardening techniques work and will help you take advantage of the nutritional and medicinal properties of garlic.
Growing garlic at home is a rewarding and simple process that can provide you with a steady supply of this flavorful and versatile kitchen staple. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to easily grow garlic at home and ensure you never run out again:
1. Select the Right Garlic Bulbs:
Choose high-quality garlic bulbs for planting. You can use garlic purchased from a nursery or online, or even better, garlic bulbs from a trusted source or your local farmers’ market. Avoid using garlic from the grocery store, as it may be treated to inhibit sprouting.
Plant garlic in the fall, a few weeks before your first hard frost. In most regions, this is in September or October. Garlic needs a cold period to grow well.
3. Prepare the Garden Bed:
Select a sunny spot with well-draining soil for your garlic bed. Loosen the soil to a depth of about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm), and amend it with organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure for added nutrients.
4. Plant the Garlic:
Break the garlic bulbs into individual cloves just before planting, leaving the papery outer skin intact. Plant the cloves about 2 inches (5 cm) deep, pointed end up, and spaced 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) apart in rows. Space the rows about 12 inches (30 cm) apart.
After planting, apply a layer of mulch, such as straw or leaves, to insulate the soil and protect the garlic from freezing.
Water your garlic well after planting. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially in the first few weeks after planting.
7. Care and Maintenance:
During the growing season, keep the garlic bed free of weeds, which can compete for nutrients and water. Water when needed, and avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases.
8. Scapes Removal:
In the late spring, hardneck garlic varieties produce scapes (flower stalks). To encourage bulb development, remove the scapes when they curl but before they fully uncoil.
Harvest your garlic in late spring or early summer, typically in June or July, when the lower leaves have yellowed and dried out. Gently dig up the bulbs, taking care not to damage them. Let the garlic bulbs dry in a warm, well-ventilated place for a few weeks.
Once your garlic bulbs are completely dry, cut off the stems and roots. Store your garlic in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. Properly stored garlic can last several months.
By following these steps, you can easily grow garlic at home and ensure a bountiful harvest. Homegrown garlic often has a richer flavor than store-bought varieties, making it a valuable addition to your kitchen, and you’ll never run out of this essential ingredient again.