Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The next installment on my gardening musings, concerning garlic:

Plant, root down, in late September/early October, allowing 2-6 inches between bulbs. Water, then mulch thickly with straw. In the late spring/early summer, they will develop a thick stalk that becomes a “flower;” cut it off. You want all the energy to go into producing bulbs. They say the stalk is edible if you cut and sauté it; I found it tasteless... They are ready to harvest when the leaves turn brown (July/August). Pull them, cut the tops, and allow to dry in the shade for about a week-10 days (I use the shelf by the window in the garage). Choose the largest head(s) for seed. Garlic gets better each year as it adapts to its locale. We slice up the bulbs and dry them. When we want garlic, we grind it in an electric coffee grinder that we only use for spices. Otherwise, store it in a cool, dry place—the basement works well for us.

This year's winter was so warm that they popped their heads through the straw in February. I wonder if that means bigger bulbs? Or, just earlier ones?


Tim Bulkeley said...

Hmm, garlic could be better to try than onions (which are so cheap to buy but seem difficult to grow). And if I translated the hemispheres right I should be planting about now... I wonder if I could try a few bulbs from shop bought garlic as seed? (As long as they are local not Chinese grown I guess...)

jps said...


Definitely! Now would be it for you. Beware of the grocery store ones, though. Unless they are organic, they have probably been sprayed with something that inhibits or prevents them from sprouting!

By the way, if your onions are all tops and no bulbs, it is probably because the pH is too low.