The garlic plant’s bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. Except for special varieties that only contain a single clove, garlic bulbs are typically cut into many smaller, fleshy pieces known as cloves. Garlic cloves can be eaten raw or cooked and are also used medicinally.
Harvesting. In the wild, garlic forms massive papery clumps. These groups of objects are also referred to as heads, bulbs, or knobs. A clove of garlic is a single, small section of a garlic head.
Harvesting. Big papery bunches are what you see when growing garlic. These groups of objects are also referred to as heads, bulbs, or knobs. Garlic cloves are the individual, tiny sections of a garlic head.
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When you think of garlic, do you picture a bulb?
In the produce section or at the farmers market, you’ll find heads or bulbs of garlic, which are lumpy balls about 2.5 inches in diameter covered in a pale thin papery skin. The cloves that make up this garlic head are very small individual pieces.
How Many Garlic Cloves Are There in a Head of Garlic? Each human brain is unique. There will be those with fewer than five cloves and those with twenty or more. The average grocery store garlic bulb has between 10 and 12 cloves.
Garlic is an essential ingredient in countless dishes because of its pungent flavour and high nutritional value. In most climates, planting time is most effectively shifted to the fall. Discover the ins and outs of growing garlic in your own yard!
If you plant it at the right time, harvesting garlic is surprisingly simple. The “stinking rose” has been used for centuries as a home remedy and as an insect repellent in the garden in addition to its intense flavour and numerous culinary uses.
Choose a planting spot that gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day, as garlic thrives in this amount of light.
Add a lot of compost or aged manure to the soil about a week before planting to get it ready. Then, right before planting, incorporate a couple of tablespoons of a complete fertiliser like 5-10-10, bonemeal, or fish meal into the soil a few inches below where the bottoms of the garlic cloves will rest.
Hope, Maine garlic grower Robin Jarry recommends using raised beds with heavy mulch if your soil is heavy in clay or doesn’t drain well. After the ground has frozen, I mulch with about 6 inches of old hay, and the plants that I grew in raised beds benefited greatly from the improved drainage. Because I prefer low-maintenance plants, I never water my garlic.
The ideal dimensions for a raised bed are 2-3 feet in width and 10-12 inches in depth.
Allowable Garlic Intervals
Can Store-Bought Garlic Be Planted?
There is a possibility of success when planting store-bought garlic bulbs for later cultivation, but doing so is not advised.
The grocery store variety of garlic is typically not suitable for home gardening and will produce only tiny bulbs at best. Because most commercial garlic is grown in areas with mild climates (like China or California), it may not be adapted to your region’s conditions and may even introduce unwanted pests and diseases. In addition, non-organic garlic may have been treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.
Planting a garlic variety designed for your region’s weather and growing season will increase your harvest significantly. Listed below are some highly suggested varieties. Cloves (also known as “seeds” or “sets”) of appropriate varieties can be purchased from garden centres, farmer’s markets, and even online.
Garlic Planting Time
Planting garlic in late September to early November typically results in a harvest the following summer (between June and August). Plant garlic cloves 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost date, before the ground freezes, in areas that get a hard frost.
When possible, giving garlic bulbs a “dormancy” period of colder weather—at least 40 F (4°C) for 4 to 8 weeks—will maximise their potential. Planting garlic bulbs in the fall gives the plants time to establish strong root systems before winter weather sets in or the ground freezes. The bulbs “awaken” from their winter hibernation in early spring, when they begin to rapidly produce new leaves and then bulbs, all before the hottest part of summer puts a stop to the process.
Late planting of garlic cloves in mild climates can produce smaller bulbs in the spring. However, garlic scapes can still be harvested and eaten in the summer. (Scapes are the young, tender green shoots of the plant; they taste like mild garlic. Yummy on eggs, salads, pizza, and stir-fries! Wait until the soil is easily worked and crumbly in the spring before planting.
Methods for Garlic Sowing
Choose cloves that are large and in good health. You can expect a bigger and healthier bulb the following summer if you plant a larger clove.
Remove cloves from the bulb a few days before planting, but don’t throw away the papery husks just yet.
Cloves should be planted 2 inches deep and 4 to 8 inches apart (with the wider root side facing down and pointed end facing up).
Space your rows out by 6 to 12 inches. Depending on the variety, a 10-foot row of these fragrant bulbs should produce about 5 pounds. Check out our fall garlic planting process.
In this brief clip, Ben demonstrates how he consistently achieves excellent results when planting garlic.
Mulching garlic beds heavily with straw or leaves will help them survive the winter in climates where the ground freezes. Want to learn more about mulching? Check out our comprehensive guide.
When frost danger has passed in the spring, mulch can be removed. (Young stems will perish in temperatures lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 degrees Celsius). (You should hide them.)
Shoots will break ground in the spring when temperatures rise above freezing.
Remove any new spring growth that looks like flower buds. The size of the bulb may be impacted.
To put it simply, garlic eats a lot. Use a synthetic source of nitrogen like pelleted fertiliser or a natural source of nitrogen like blood meal or pelleted chicken manure as a side-dress or broadcast in the early spring.
Just before the bulbs swell in response to the longer days, apply fertiliser again (usually early May in most regions). If the leaves start to turn yellow, follow up again.
Ensure that the planting area is kept weed-free. Competitors are bad for garlic because it consumes almost all of the soil’s nutrients.
During the bulbing stage, water every 3–5 days (mid-May through June). Irrigate to a depth of 2 feet every 8-10 days if May and June are extremely dry. By the middle of June, you should have cut back significantly on watering.
Which garlic variety should I use? Softneck and Hardneck garlic are the two most common varieties.
If you have severe winters, you should plant hardneck varieties. To help the bulbs bloom to their full potential, the flower stalks, or “scapes,” must be cut off.
The scapes themselves are a delicacy in the early summer, especially when chopped and added to salads or stir-fries. Cloves on hardnecks grow in one thick ring around the stem.
Even though hardnecks can withstand the cold, they don’t keep for as long or as much longer in storage than other varieties. It has a more subdued flavour than softnecks. ‘Korean Red,’ ‘Duganski,’ ‘Siberian,’ ‘Music,’ ‘Chesnok Red,’ ‘German Red,’ ‘Purple Stripe,’ and ‘Spanish Roja’ are all common hardneck varieties.
The softneck varieties are commonly seen braided together for storage because their necks do not harden after harvest.
Because they are not as cold-resistant as other varieties, softnecks are best suited to warmer climates.
Since their energy isn’t being diverted to produce top-set bulblets like it is in hardnecks, the resulting bulbs are more flavorful and larger. “Silverskin,” “Inchelium Red,” “California Early,” and “Artichoke” are all examples of softneck varieties.
In spite of its lack of garlic-ness, the Great-headed (Elephant) garlic acts like a conventional hardneck variety because of its massive size. Despite its massive proportions, its flavour is surprisingly mild. Following planting, most varieties can be harvested within 90 days.
If you’re looking for garlic flavour, great-headed (Elephant) garlic is not the way to go.
In comparison to other types, it has less resistance to cold and is more closely related to leeks. Rather than tasting like garlic, it tastes more like onion. Huge cloves and bulbs go well together; each bulb contains about four cloves.
Check out our full video for a comprehensive look at the garlic growing and harvesting process.
In general, late June to early August is when harvests from autumn plantings occur. The “days to maturity” of the garlic variety you planted will give you a rough idea of when you can expect to harvest it if you planted in the spring.
Although yellowing leaves are often an indicator, this is not always the case with different types of garlic. Collect when the tops have turned a pale yellow and fallen over but are still moist.
One bulb should be sampled before the entire crop is dug up. Check the maturity of your crop by lifting a bulb. Due to the fact that some varieties of garlic are ready earlier (in late June or early July), we frequently harvest a bulb before the tops have turned completely yellow. The cloves of garlic will be full and plump, and the papery skin that surrounds the bulbs will be thick and dry.
The wrapping around the bulb will be thin and easily disintegrate if it is pulled too soon.
The bulbs can crack if they are left in the ground for too long. Bulbs with split skin are more susceptible to disease and won’t last as long when stored.
Bulbs should be dug up with a garden fork rather than pulled or yanked by hand. It’s important to keep the roots and root-plate undamaged (where they attach to the bulb). Carefully brush off any excess soil from the plants, but do not remove any of the foliage or roots.
Have gathered garlic bulbs for harvest.
Methods for Maintaining Garlic’s Freshness
Garlic needs about two weeks to cure in a cool, dry, shady spot. You can either leave them to try on a homemade rack made from chicken wire stretched over posts or hang them upside down on a string in groups of four to six. Take care to ensure adequate ventilation on all sides.
Garlic should be completely dry and ready for storage after a few weeks.
When the roots are dry and the papery wrappers have dried, the bulbs are cured and ready for storage. The cloves should break easily apart, but the root crown should be quite hard.
The garlic bulbs can be stored after they have dried. To clean, simply brush off the grime (do not wash), discard the wrappers that have the most soil on them, cut the roots to a quarter of an inch, and trim the tops to between one and two inches.
It is recommended that bulbs be kept in a cool (40°F / 4°C), dark, and dry place for several months. If your basement is damp, don’t put anything there. Garlic should also not be kept in the fridge.
As the bulbs age and dry, their flavour intensifies. If stored correctly, garlic can last until the following summer’s harvest.
You should set aside some of the largest, best-formed bulbs for planting in the fall if you intend to plant garlic again next season.