Growing Garlic in Your Home Garden

Growing Garlic in Your Home Garden
Written by Alyssia Walmsley

There’s nothing better than growing your own garlic bulbs to use for cooking. I’ve always loved the taste of fresh garlic and it’s so easy to grow in your own home garden! Garlic (Allium sativum) has a long history of being used as a seasoning in Asia. Which is its native home, along with the Mediterranean and Africa. However, the most distinctive feature of this underground root plant is definitely its smell. When cutting garlic it causes an enzyme called alliinase to be released. Which is composed of sulfur content. This causes it to give off its characteristic sharp smell.

Where to Grow Garlic

And its this smell that makes it a wonderful addition to soups, pasta, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, herbs, and Italian dishes. But your local grocery store isn’t the only place you can find garlic. Garlic is a very easy plant to establish and care for in your home garden.

Garlic is a relative of the onion with both being hardy perennials whose root bulbs continue to grow over the Winter months. Before Winter is sure to use mulch to cover the surrounding soil so the shallow roots aren’t damaged though. The perennial garlic does best in loose loamy soil that contains a good amount of organic matter. It should be planted in very early Spring so the bulb has plenty of time to grow. The more cloves you can get out of a bulb the better.

Each clove should be planted at least six inches apart so they’ll have enough room or else you’ll pull up siamese bulbs in Spring. Cloves are the way garlic reproduces because it doesn’t produce seeds. So it is important to make sure the soil is of a good-quality with a medium range pH level. High-quality organic matter keeps the pH from getting out of range, which can happen with garlic as it loves such nutrients as nitrogen and phosphorous. As for watering, like most other plants it depends on what soil type the garlic is growing in.

It’s helpful to remember that garlic has a shallow root system that makes it susceptible to overwatering or drought periods.

The Perfect Soil Ratio

The soil also needs to be kept evenly moist or you run the risk of the bulbs becoming deformed and the same goes for soil that’s composed of too much clay. Generally, garlic doesn’t need to be watered that much though if they’re in a container this may not be true. I’ve easily grown garlic chives before in a clay pot container with minimal care. This is probably the easiest way to grow garlic as you can isolate it from potential pests while having more control over soil quality.

However, depending on the size of the container the bulbs may not grow very big. Like garlic being grown in the garden, the container garlic still needs full sunlight. Without a lot of sunlight, its growth could potentially be stunted. Generally, the garlic is a slow growing, but easy to care for plant that looks great on any landscape. In the late Summer or Fall garlic is ready to be dug out of the ground washed off. When pulling them out of the ground be sure to do so gently as the roots may break or the bulb bruised.

Then lay them out in a shady place to dry. Turning them over every day so mold doesn’t attack the drying bulbs. Usually dried garlic with keep for many months without going bad.

About the author

Alyssia Walmsley

Alyssia is a Cornell University graduate of 2003 and a former lead technology development manager for Microsoft and Cisco Networking Systems. Between writing on her blog, Blubbr, she likes adventures and chocolate sprinkles.

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