Our garlic garden is the easiest and most forgiving garden to grow, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want all the advice we can get. Brie Arthur, is a nationally recognized author, speaker, advocate for gardening and plant expert. Here she shares how to grow garlic — her personal favorite crop — simply and successfully.
Garlic is easily my favorite crop to grow, so I am thrilled to share these tips with you.
Why Grow Garlic?
Did you know garlic is the most consumed vegetable in the US? It also happens to be one of the veggies that has the most “food miles” attached to it.
In 2012, China became the world’s leader in garlic production, fulfilling 80% of the garlic sold in American grocery stores. That’s when I decided to start growing my own. Based on these stats, if you choose just one thing to grow to change your food miles, it should be garlic.
Besides its environmental impact, garlic is a simple crop to grow. Every climate in the U.S. offers an opportunity to grow garlic. It prefers the cool season and requires very few inputs (a.k.a. water and fertilizer). If every beginning gardener started with garlic, they would immediately gain green thumb confidence. Here’s how to grow garlic.
TIP #1: Plant to its preferences
Planting garlic is a breeze. Simply separate the cloves from the bulb and thumb them into the soil no more than an inch deep. You don’t even need to remove the paper! Garlic prefers to be planted close to the surface and likes evenly moist, not soggy soil so water about 1 time a week during the cold season.
Garlic is a bulb that, like tulips, prefers cool soil temperatures and short days to initiate growth. When you plant the bulbs they will first develop roots before sending up slender, fragrant leaves that will grow all winter.
TIP #2: Harvest at the right time
The foliage will begin to turn brown and collapse when it’s time to harvest your garlic. Simply pull it out of your Gardenuity grow bag and hang in a dry, dark place with good air flow to properly cure. This will allow you to store the bulb longer and extend your culinary use.
TIP #3: Enjoy the entire harvest
The garlic bulb you know is obviously delicious, but so is the foliage! Eat it raw or cooked on a variety of dishes. In the spring, when the garlic develops a flower stalk or scape, that’s a sign to do some pruning. The plant needs to put its energy into root development, not seed production so cut that garlic scape to the base and eat it. Scapes are delicious grilled or roasted whole, or chopped into garlic scape pesto and served with pasta.
Most of all, have fun growing your Gardenuity garlic garden! Feel good knowing that you are helping reduce food miles. Spread the word to your friends and family. Together, we can all contribute to make the world a more sustainable place — one Gardenuity garden at a time!
If you have any questions about how to grow garlic, contact us!
Read up on our unique Garlic Garden Giveaway and how growing garlic can help educate children.