I love growing garlic. It doesn’t have a lot of pest or disease issues, requires minimal care, and produces three separate (and delicious!) crops: green garlic in spring, garlic scapes in early summer, and the main bulb harvest in July.

It’s easy to save seed and plant your own garlic each year, which is nice because seed garlic is expensive! In our area, garlic planting happens in mid-late October, at a time when all of the other garden chores are winding down. (Really, garlic can be planted any time before the ground freezes.)

The interns and I planted garlic varieties that have been grown at Old Trail Farm for many years.

First, we separated last year’s garlic into individual cloves for planting.

 

 

Next, we topped our prepared beds off with a nice, thick layer of compost.

 

Then we layed out string guides to help us plant in straight lines. This is not necessary, but it will look nice next year.

Each clove of garlic will produce a whole new bulb, or head. Cloves should be planted and inch or two below the surface of the soil, six inches apart from each other. You can use a dibber (also called a dibbler or dibble – basically a stick) to make holes in the ground for your garlic cloves like this…

or you can just shove them into the soil with your hands like this…

 

The most important thing to remember is to plant them pointy side up so the leaves grow up and the roots grow down.

 

Last, we tucked in the beds with a layer of straw mulch. The garlic will start growing a little until the ground freezes, then hibernate for the winter. New garlic leaves poking out of the soil is a sure sign that spring has arrived!

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