Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Planting - Growing Garlic

I had mentioned in an earlier post about "Fall Planting" - vegetables & herbs that like the cooler weather are planted during spring & fall.

I planted some sugar peas, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, onions & garlic in late summer-early fall ( end of Aug - early Sep). Unfortunately my cauliflower seedlings were eaten up by bugs & I couldn't find more seeds in my nearest garden center. When I found some beetroot seeds, I decided to try those & they germinated beautifully, but soon they got eaten by bugs too. Same thing happened with my spinach too.

I tried using Neem Oil & diluted dish wash soap to spray on the plants to get rid of my bugs. Both neither of these helped.

Anyway, this post was about growing garlic. Garlic is a wonderful bulb that enhances the flavor of your dishes. I use a lot of garlic at home in most of my dishes. So I decided to trying growing some this year.
They are very easy to plant & grow. They hardly require any care.

Garlic should be planted in well drained, rich soil in a sunny location. Choose some big & healthy (without any black spots) garlic from your grocery store. The bigger the cloves, the bigger the garlic bulb produced. To plant, separate a garlic pod into cloves with the skin intact. If the skin is damaged it could lead to fungal infections. Place each clove into a hole or furrow with the root side down & pointed side up. Loosely cover with soil, water lightly & watch the sprouts grow. You can see the sprouts in a week to 10 days. Each clove will produce a whole new garlic bulb.
This pic was taken 7-10 days after the garlic cloves were planted 

Spacing : Each clove should be placed 6-8 inches apart to help the bulb spread out & grow big.



Bittergourd plants spread on the chicken wire around my garlic patch    

Water lightly once the sprouts appear. Over-watering can promote fungal growth. The garlic shoots must be fertilized in spring when most of the growth occurs.

In spring the garlic shoots will start to flower. Wait for the flowers to die & the leaves to die (turn brown) back a little around June - July. This is when the garlic is ready for harvest. Carefully dig up your bulbs without damaging them.

Then tie the garlic together in bundles & hang them to dry for a few weeks in a shaded, drafty area.
When the garlic is dry, trim the roots without damaging the skin. Store in recycled onion or garlic bags.

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