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What are the Best Tips for Growing Garlic?

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  • Written By: Adam Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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Many people grow garlic themselves, because it does not require extraordinary gardening skill to do so. Growing garlic at home also provides the rewarding feeling of using homegrown crops. While it is easy to do, growing garlic does not lead to an ideal crop in every case. There are several tips to follow, regarding disease prevention and soil drainage, among other things, that can help garlic plants grow well.

Over 600 varieties and sub-varieties of garlic exist in the world, and all are members of the species Allium sativum. These hundreds of varieties are usually spoken of in two main groups: the hardneck and softneck garlics. Hardneck garlic gets its name from the tough, stiff stalk of the plant. These tend to have fewer cloves than the softneck varieties, and are well-adapted to cooler climates. Softneck garlic is grown in warm climates and is the most commonly known commercial garlic. It is the kind that is most often seen in grocery stores, because of its ability to travel and store well.

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The type of garlic you decide to grow will depend most of all on the climate where you live. Individual garlic cloves act as seeds from which plants can grow, and it is best to choose the largest cloves and sow them with the root end down. Garlic is traditionally planted on the day of the winter solstice, though whether this was done for symbolic or practical purposes is unclear. In any case, late fall provides the most ideal growing conditions for new seeds.

The best soil environment for growing garlic is one that is deep, fertile, and well-drained. It should also have a generally neutral pH- around 6.5 to 7.5- and be well fertilized, either with garden fertilizer or well-rotted compost. Diseases which cause roots to rot are very common in garlic plants, and it is important to give new plants every possible advantage in the battle against disease. Freely-draining soil helps here, as well as twice-monthly fertilizer treatments in the spring. This will allow stronger leaf growth before bulbing starts, giving larger bulbs and cloves at the end.

When growing garlic, it is also important to keep in mind that garlic plants are poor competition for weeds. The soil should be meticulously weeded at regular intervals. When the leaves of a garlic plant turn brown and begin to fall off, this is a signal that it is time to harvest the garlic crop. The garlic bulbs should then be hung in a cool, dry place for about a week to ensure good preservation. If you grow garlic regularly, it is almost inevitable that diseases will arise in the soil or seed stock. To reduce the effect of disease, it may be wise to purchase new seed stock from time to time.

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Rotergirl
Post 2

I have a spot for a garlic bed in my front yard and I've had pretty good luck with it. It's always convenient to have your own garlic on hand all the time.

I plant the softneck variety and it seems to do well in my yard. I have a little raised bed so the soil drains well, and I get new seed every year, as the article recommends. I've never had a problem with root rot, but as I said -- I plant with new stock every year. I've done it about five years, and I've had all the garlic I could use. I've usually had enough to give away, too. People who like garlic are always glad to get some that's homegrown.

Pippinwhite
Post 1

I have thought about growing garlic in a pot. That way, I could have control over the soil and fertilizer. I had no idea it was prone to disease, though.

I love garlic, love cooking with it and it is scrumptious when roasted. I have a nice, sunny place for it, and since I live in the South, I'm sure I'd be planting the softneck variety. I'm going to look into container garlic and see if that's a good way to do it. If it is, I'm planting some this fall. I'll be interested to see how much of a crop I get.

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