Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Local Feed on Planting Garlic

Last week I provided some pointers, on WYCE’s The Local Feed, for planting garlic.

Click to listen above or here. Or, read it below.

Last year I put six garlic cloves in my herb garden in early November to see if I could grow bulbs from them. It worked! Plant garlic mid-October to mid-November.

Since I had one season of experience, I went to Kim Sanwald from Brickyard Farms for advice. Her partner Valerie Lane is known to many as the garlic lady and was the first to bring hard-neck garlic to the Fulton St. Farmers Market 13 years ago.

Plant the hard-neck garlic cloves with the pointed side up – the root side down – to a depth of 3-4 inches. Space them four inches apart. If the weather is dry, water occasionally. Each clove should develop into a bulb of garlic.

In early summer, you’ll see leaves and a green tubular flower stalk develop. These flowers are called garlic scapes and are harvested to allow for bulb development. When it starts to curl over – pick the scape by breaking it off at the base. It’s edible and tastes like mild garlic.

When the bottom two rows of leaves are brown, pull a test clove of garlic checking for maturity. They should look plump, juicy, and filled out.  When mature, pull out the cloves; brush off soil. Use them, or let sit to air dry for a few weeks, away from the sun, until the leaves are all brown. Then, your garlic will last for many months in an airy place out of direct sunlight.

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