Gardening Tips and Highlights
by Christine Yesko
Garlic is easy to grow, even for clumsy and lazy gardeners.
You should plant garlic in the fall after soil temperatures have cooled and moisture levels have risen. Garlic needs full sun and plenty of water. Although it doesn’t like to stand in water, well-draining soil is good.
Try to buy different types of garlic, at which there are many cultivars to choose from. Even though they all look the same, each variety has its own taste. Garlic is a living thing. You may not see it in motion, but each is evolving to become a new mother bulb.
Separate heads into individual cloves. Separate different cultivars and clearly label the areas, otherwise you’ll be completely confused come harvest next spring. Shove individual cloves into the ground, three to four inches deep and four inches apart. Smooth the soil back over and water them in.
Fall-planted garlic can be harvested the following spring and summer. The heat of oncoming summer forces garlic to mature. The longer garlic can stay in the ground, the better. Watch for the leaves to begin withering in late spring. Pull up the garlic and hang in a covered porch, hothouse, or garage with a fan blowing on them to cure.
After curing, garlic will last anywhere from three to ten months. If you don’t have the facilities to cure large quantities of garlic, freshly harvested bulbs can be dug up and processed into paste with oil. Freeze the paste for use throughout the year. It’s easy to just break a piece off the frozen paste. Or, you could freeze the paste in tablespoon dollops or larger if you’re a garlic fancier.
You can use garlic in many dishes and you have a breath of summer on even the gloomiest winter day. Visit: http://www.wimastergardener.org for more information.