Garlic is one of the most satisfying crops a vegetable gardener can grow. Here are some tips for growing this easy and tasty vegetable.
GARLIC GROWING TIPS
Match your garlic variety to your location.
In the lower New England states where temperatures are usually above zero in the winter, you can grow either hard-neck or soft-neck garlic. Those in colder regions will have the most success with hard-neck varieties.
Don’t plant supermarket garlic that’s sold for cooking.
Most of these heads are raised in California, so they might not be suitable for this area. We never know how fresh this garlic is, as some are treated to prevent sprouting while in storage or on display in the produce section. Buy seed garlic from a local garden center or online source.
Dig trenches about 4 inches deep.
Garlic cloves get planted about four inches down and 6 to eight inches apart.
Don’t plant the whole garlic head.
It’s a common mistake that first-time gardeners make. Seed garlic is sold in whole heads, but the individual cloves should be separated from that before planting. If you have several heads, plant the fattest cloves and save any tiny ones for cooking.
Cover the cloves with soil and watch for the sprouts a few weeks later.
In very cold climates, gardeners often protect these green shoots with a light mulch of hay, pine branches or chopped leaves. Don’t use whole leaves because these can mat down and smother your young garlic plants. In southern New England, the winters are usually mild enough that garlic plants don’t need protection.
Garlic that’s planted in the fall will be off and growing, providing much-valued greenery in the spring. There are many gardeners who think that come April, a group of thriving spring garlic plants is as beautiful as any tulip bed.