Growing Garlic 2012 – Planting Nov9

So, we decided to write a blog on how to grow garlic.
This is where we start… planting season November 2012.

After selling our garlic products at 100s of agriculture fairs through out the years and speaking with dozens of farmers we decided to try to grow our own large garlic bulbs, YUMMI!!!

In this small 10′ x 20′ garden bed we are going to plant 130 cloves November 9, 2012 aiming for it to be ready early to mid July 2013. Southern Ontario, Canada region.

November 9, 2013
We used dolomite lime to help stabilize the soil and balance out the PH around 6.5 to 7.0
Garlic loves nitrogen, so add a nice amount and then add more during growth.
One farmer told us that cow manure is best to use because cows have several stomachs and this really helps to brake it down.

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In this mix we use Bat Guano Vegetative & Flowering althought the Veg. is likely more important because of the high (N)itrigen content. We also use cow manure and dolomite lime to balance the soil.

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Next you have to get your garlic cloves ready for planting. This years planting will have four varieties: Bogatyr (Spicy), German Red, Russian Red and the most common variety Music. Music is usually apparently the easiest to grow and it grows well in Ontario. It is hardneck variety, the flavor is sweet and pungent & hot when eaten raw. It can be the size of half your hand, big and tasty.

The old saying goes “the bigger the garlic cloves, the bigger your garlic bulb will be”. Make sure you find healthy, fat bulbs.
Break each bulb into individual cloves, don’t worry if all the paper skin is removed but do try NOT to damage it and try to keep it on if you can… it is good protection.

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Break up the garlic bulb by pulling apart the cloves. Be careful not to damage the paper skin too much, if you do you can still plant it.

Separate the cloves so that you have enough to plant. Depending on the variety of garlic, a bulb will produce anywhere up to 11 cloves. This means you can have 11 bulbs. Here is a picture of all the garlic cloves we are going to plant….

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Garlic has hundreds of varieties. Here are the ones we are trying out: Bogatyr (Spicy), German Red, Russian Red and the most common variety Music.

You have till your soil and add all your nutrients at this point, blend it in so the soil is fluffy. You may need to add some straw, coco fibre, perilite or vermiculite to fluff it up even more.

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Till your soil. Now is the best time to add all your manures, dolomite lime, high nitrogen stuff like guanos or worm castings. Till it about 8″ – 10″ deep. Alternatively, you can also dig trenches and only fertilizer the rows.


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Worms are good for the soil. They eat the micro-nutrients and soil stuff leaving behind natures most excellent fertilizer: natural organic worm poop! The more worms you find in your soil, the healthier it is and the more you work your soil, the healthier it gets.

In addition to tilling and preparing the soil, we also dug trench 6″ deep, 10 rows.
First we put the guanos at the bottom for the nitrogen/phosphorous and put a layer of cow manure on top of that about 3″ thick.
Garlic roots don’t grow deep so I’m told this will likely do it.

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Dig a row, add some guanos and dolomite lime. About 6″ deep and then back fill with 3″ cow manure.

After you put the manure down, set the cloves into the manure loosely about 6″ apart. The clove should be about 2 inches below the surface. Then cover it and create a mound about 4″ above the surface. After the winter the mound will go down to about 1″ to 2″ above surface which is great for the garlic.

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Add 3″ of cow manure and even worm casting to this mix and sit the clove of garlic about one to two inches down, pointy side up. This is their home for the winter, until Around mid April when they will sprout.


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Mix up the left over soil with some more cow manure and worm castings if you have them. Build mounds about 4″ above the garlic clove (soil surface). Over the winter it will go down to about 2″ above the clove which is perfect.


Make sure you plant your garlic before the ground freezes.
Alternatively, you can also plant your garlic in the spring just after the ground softens… you will still get a crop but not as good.

That’s it! You can put some mulch over it if you have it or even some straw to protect over the winter…. we just left it.


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