Tuesday, May 11, 2010

GIY - Growing Garlic

Garlic - Allium sativum
By Chester Aaron Link to full article below

Garlic is as beautiful in the garden as it is easy to grow.

Growing Guide

Soil preparation: Garlic will tolerate some shade but prefers full sun. While I've seen cloves sprout in gravel pits, garlic responds best in well-drained, rich, loamy soil amended with lots of organic matter. Raised beds are ideal, except in very dry regions.

Planting: To grow garlic, you plant the cloves, the sections of the bulb; each clove will produce a new bulb. The largest cloves generally yield the biggest bulbs. To get the cloves off to a strong start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in a jar of water containing one heaping tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Plant garlic in the fall.

Spacing: Place cloves in a hole or furrow with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, with each tip 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch, such as straw or dried grass clippings mixed with leaves. You'll see shoots start growing right through the mulch in four to eight weeks, depending on your weather and the variety you've planted. They stop growing during winter, then start again in spring. Leave the mulch in place into spring; it conserves moisture and suppresses weeds (garlic competes poorly with weeds).

Watering: Garlic needs about an inch of water each week during spring growth. If you have to augment rainfall with the garden hose, stop watering by June 1 or when the leaves begin to yellow in order to let the bulbs firm up.

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