Growing garlic


Planting garlic in my neck of the woods in southwestern B.C., is usually done in October.  I plant halfway through the month.  It should be done early enough to grow roots, but not to early otherwise the top will start to come up, potentially killing the top with freezing in winter.  It should still grow new shoots in the Spring though.

You should start with a whole bulb, and break it apart ideally right before, or within a day of planting.  Each clove is planted the same way it was facing in the bulb; pointy end up!  The cloves should be planted approximately 6 inches apart either way, and 2 to 3 inches deep.   Each clove will become a whole bulb by the following Summer.

Maintaining the plants in the growing season: –Watering is an important factor in growing garlic.  It should be kept watered if soil is dry in the spring and early summer.  Watering should be stopped about 2 weeks before harvesting.  The bulbs will start to cure in the soil, and when harvested, will not have muck on the wrappers.– Keeping plants weed free is also important, as the plants don’t compete well with weeds.  This is easier if you use a mulch. — In order to grow bigger bulbs, the scape that shoots up in june/july can be cut off just above the top leaf.  The scape will come up and curl, and will straiten out again.  It is best to cut it off before it straitens out, as it can be used for cooking in stir frys for example. Yummy!

Harvesting is done when the leaves are about 60% brown.  To early and it will not be fully mature, but if left to late, the  wrappers will have deteriorated and the cloves will be left exposed.  Each green leaf left on the plant, represents a good wrapping on the bulb.  Different varieties will have different harvesting times.  Remove soil from roots, and brush off from bulb.

Curing is done by hanging the plants intact, in bunches of ten or so, in a shady, covered, and  well ventilated area.  It will take about 3 weeks to cure, then you cut the stem about an inch from the bulb, and trim the roots to a quarter inch.

Store in a cool, dry, but not cold place.  Cold will make the garlic start to sprout.  If stored properly, you should be able to achieve the storage times that are mentioned in the descriptions.  It is good to have varieties with different storage lengths, to last till the next years harvest.  Some varieties will only last 3 to 4 months, while other up to 1 year.

Bulbis is a weird word; hardly googleable. It is a miniature garlic, a clone of the bulb, in the garlic flowering scape.The reason for this spacial word is that true seed can also grow from the scape, to produce new varieties. but focus on the bulbis: if it can be planted as a clove would, in the fall, and pulled up a smaller bulb in the following year. the bulbis can take anywhere from 2-5 years to become a mature bulb. Different verities have different size bulbis, ranging from small to large and numbering just a few to many.or some very rarely, if at all. Plant pointy side up! (small/many=approx 4-5 years maturity)(large/few= approx 2-3 years to maturity)

Have fun!