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Monday, April 2, 2012

An Experiment in Growing Garlic

     Every year that I have planted tomatoes I’ve made spaghetti sauce and either canned or frozen it. Over the years, as I became a better gardener, more and more homegrown elements such as onions, chives, green peppers, oregano, basil, and parsley were added to the sauce. Last summer as I pealed, chopped, grinded and minced, I realized that the only element that was store bought (other than the olive oil) was the garlic! This year I am going to try to grow garlic.
     Ideally garlic should be planted in the fall or at least very early spring. I planted the garlic cloves last November.
     Find a nice sunny spot in your garden that is not too damp. Garlic likes dry weather and soil. To grow garlic dig up a strip of garden about a foot deep. Get some garlic from the grocery store and break it apart into cloves. Plant each clove about 1” to 2” deep under the surface, pointy side up. Set the cloves about 4” apart with rows about 18” apart. I think mine are a foot apart but it’s too late now to move them. Mulch with straw. Then let it go.
I mulched mine in the fall with straw from the chicken coop.  It had chicken droppings in it.   The garlic sprouts were about 4” high this February because of our mild winter. It got really cold some nights but that didn’t seem to hurt the sprouts.
     Now the weather is warming up so I have cleaned off the garlic bed and fertilized it with liquid manure. Garlic likes a slightly acidic soil so for the summer mulch I used wood pellets. We have a pellet stove and every now and then we open a bag and find that moisture has gotten into the pellets and they can’t be used in the stove. I use these pellets to mulch areas of the yard and garden that like acid soil.  For instance, the red raspberry bedd likes an acidic soil, so that is mulched with wood pellets.
     So there you have it! The garlic is now taking off. It’s about a foot high and fertilized and mulched. As it grows you're supposed to clip off the flower stem that may emerge.  This aids in adding strength to the root, the bulb, which is the part you eat.  I’ll see how it goes and keep you posted.

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Comments on this blog are welcome. Ask questions, post your own experiences about the subject, post recipes, helpful tips, stories. Thanks! ~Bev