Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for Garlic

Looking for something you can plant in Fall or Spring, that doesn't need a lot of work, takes up a small amount of space and is tasty to boot. Garlic is exactly what you are looking for.

If you are in the warmer climates like us softneck garlic is your best choice and hardneck for the more northern climates. Although we plant both where we are. Check out Sow True or your local seed dealer for lots of variety.

Okay, now you have some cloves, where should it be planted?  Any where that you can keep the weeds out is generally good for garlic. Weeds are their number one enemy. It enjoys a loose organic rich soil, it is growing underground after all. Mulch is important, it helps hold in nutrients, water and keeps the soil an even temperature. It even does well in containers, pots, buckets and even indoors.

We plant garlic in the garden in flower beds and even around our younger pecan trees. They are in an area that gets morning sun and have a sandy to mulch like soil. We replant each year and space them the 2 to 3 inches apart, but it never fails that some bulbs or cloves are left behind each year to reproduce so we get a jumbled patch.

We plant in the fall and this spring has been really strange for us, ice and late heavy freezing, which explains why some of the leaves look a bit under the weather..

Another great aspect of hardneck garlic are scapes. What's a Scape? It's the flower stem for the garlic. Most people will trim them off and compost them to insure a larger bulb but it has more uses than that! You can use them fresh in salads, stir-fry them, or even pickle them. At our state farmers market, I have seen them used in floral arrangements. So you get two great things out of one planting.

We plant, mulch and then harvest in middle summer, July or August for us. Harvesting happens when a majority of the leaves have turned brown. We will pull and then cure the bulbs for later. This is done by leaving the garlic in a dry, dark place with good cross ventilation. We have left it in our laundry room with a fan circulating the air. Moisture is an enemy of curing garlic, it could encourage rot or mold. Cured Garlic is good for at the minimum 6 months and 1 year at the max. 

So do your research and add them to your list for this fall, you'll be thanking me when it's harvest time!

This is a post in the A to Z Challenge and I personally have found some really great blogs. I was surprised to see that there are now over 1800 bloggers participating. I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you'll check back in tomorrow for H is for your not so common Herbs!