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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.