Garlic likes a fairly fertile soil with some well composted manure or plant composts. We prepare new ground with a midsummer planting of buckwheat, soybeans, oats and pea, which helps to smother weeds while enriching the soil with nitrogen and organic matter. In late September, we chop these plants up into the soil and add alfalfa meal and compost.
By mid October we plant the garlic, clove points up, on 12 inch spacing. We then cover it with a thick layer of straw to keep down weeds and conserve soil moisture.
The garlic usually sprouts and grows a few inches in the 2 or 3 weeks remaining until frost sets in and puts the garlic to sleep for the winter. In the spring it shoots right up through the mulch and gets going. By summer solstice, it puts out beautiful curly flower stalks known as scapes, which we snap off once they achieve a full loop. This puts the plants energy back down to the bulb, producing larger cloves than if you left the flower to grow. The scapes are delicious sauteed until they wrinkle, and are the main ingredient in our signature "Scape-a-moli" pesto. Sometimes we plant garlic in ornamental flower beds and leave the scapes on just to look at them.
After removing the scapes, it is usually 3 weeks to a month before we pull the garlic, judged mostly by the browning of the lower leaves. When 3 or more have dried up, the garlic is mature. Hang it in a dry place for about a month and then move it somewhere cooler. You now have your own supply of planting stock for next fall, plus 6 times that amount to eat and give away!
Medicine that tastes like the spice of life.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your garlic planting.
Although we grow our garlic organically, we are not certified organic garlic growers. Growing garlic organically is quite easy really because not a lot of pests bother it, and there are many pesticidal products that include hot pepper and garlic sprays to deter insect and deer populations.