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Garlic


This vegetable originated in Central Asia and has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Cultivation

Fall is prime time for planting garlic. Fall-planted garlic cloves will produce a new bulb by the next summer.

This is a vegetatively propagated crop. Garlic is a bulb and is made up of a collection of cloves. It has no seeds.To grow some, simply go to the market and get some garlic, choosing the largest bulbs free of any storage diseases. Then, break up the bulb into its individual cloves.

Garlic cloves should be planted about 1.5 inches deep in well-drained, fertile soil. Plant the cloves 4 to 6 inches apart with 12 inches between rows.

Don't worry about which direction the cloves are laying in the row. Shoots grow up and roots grow down; they straighten themselves out.



If it gets too cold, less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit, you may wish to throw leaves or straw over the plants to protect them until it gets warmer.

Fertilize the plants at the beginning of March and again about mid-May.

A garden plot is not necessary for homegrown garlic. Cloves can be planted in pots or containers that are 4 to 6 inches deep. Use well-drained, loose potting soil and fertilize once a month."

The leaves will emerge in several weeks and grow throughout the winter.

Harvest

In general, garlic grown in North America should be ready to harvest in late June or July, but knowing when to harvest garlic is both an art and a science. Some gardeners do it based on the leaves, waiting for about half of the leaves to turn brown. If the leaves are allowed to go entirely brown, the garlic will not have a tight head and won’t store well.

To test the crop, cut a garlic from the garden in half horizontally and examine the cross-section of the cloves to see how tightly packed they are. If the cloves are loose, then the garlic should be given more time to fill out.

Culinary Use

You don't have to wait until mid-summer to use garlic. The immature plants, the green garlic, can be used anytime. Use them as you would scallions in stir fry, or in pestos.

Freshly harvested garlic in summer will have a milder and sweeter taste than bulbs that have been stored.

Sources:
Craig Andersen, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service


Garlic
Garlic









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