All You Need to Know about Planting Garlic During Fall
One of the easiest and best plants to grow during the fall season is garlic. An integral ingredient of a lot of recipes, growing your own garlic can be fun and ensures you always have the freshest ones to work with. As an easy plant, garlic can be grown by beginners.
Fall is the best season to grow garlic. While this means you will get to harvest it by mid-spring or summer, garlic planted in the fall tends to produce bigger and better bulbs. If you’re ready to grow some, the following is all you need to know about planting garlic in the fall.
1. Preparing the Soil
While garlic is not a demanding plant to look after, it can be a bit fussy so make sure to prepare your soil. Garlic needs well-drained, cultivated and rich soil. It should have a pH of 6.4 to 6.8 for a good harvest. Additionally, add well rotted manure and around 3 inches of compost to the garden bed before you plant the garlic cloves in it.
2. Prepare the Garlic Cloves
To prepare for planting, take a large garlic bulb and separate the cloves and peel them. Garlic cloves should be planted immediately. Waiting for more than 24 hours can cause the bulb to dry out and it will not grow well. Make sure to use the biggest bulb you have as it will yield similar sized bulbs. To make sure you get a good harvest, use garlic cloves from different garlic varieties.
3. Planting the Garlic Cloves
Plant each clove at least 2 inches deep, and 6 inches apart. The pointed side should be facing up. Cover them with soil and then add a layer of mulch which 5 to 8 inches deep. Use seedless straw for this purpose. Over the winter months, this layer will pack down to 2 inches by early spring.
4. Looking after the Growing Plant
Once the ground thaws, your garlic cloves will send out shoots immediately. Make sure they receive around an inch of water every week. For fertilizer, use a liquid emulsion with fish content once every two weeks. This needs to be done from early spring until June 1.
Based on the kind of garlic you’re growing, the plant will now have either a garlic scape or a flower. These should be cut off so the bulb is encouraged to grow. Leave one or two flowers and scapes as indicators the garlic ready.
5. Harvesting the Garlic
By July, the outer wrappers of the garlic bulbs will begin to dry. During this time, you need to cut down on watering. Giving them too much water can cause mold or stain the garlic wrappers. Harvest your garlic by early August. To determine if it is the right time, look at the leaves and scapes. The scapes are naturally curly but will have uncurled and the leaves will start to turn brown.
If you see both these signs, it is time to harvest. Once you harvest your garlic, you cannot eat them yet. Garlic needs to be cured for 3 to 4 weeks. To do this, hang them up in bunches in a cool, shaded spot which is well ventilated.
It’s a long process but growing your own garlic can be very rewarding. Try it out this fall!