Garlic is one of the most popular vegetables due to its aromatic and flavorful components. Besides, it is known for having beneficial and medicinal attributes that are liked by humans. Garlic is also very easy to plant and grow, hence why many beginners plant this vegetable in their garden.
Garlic likes fertile, loose, and well-drained soil. It also thrives in areas that receive full sun every day. The best time to plant garlic is during the fall and harvesting season, usually around late July to early August. You should also avoid overwatering your garlic plant for it can lead to root rot and diseases.
In this article, we will discuss how to successfully grow garlic in your backyard. We will also advise you on how to achieve the fruitful harvest of your backyard-grown garlic.
Here are more guides on growing Vegetables:
Guide in Growing Garlic in the Backyard
Backyard gardening is a great way to grow our own food. It can also save you from buying expensive vegetables at the supermarket. When backyard farming, even if using a small area, you get to enjoy the benefits of gardening and spending time outdoors.
With backyard gardening, you can enjoy eating locally grown food without using pesticides or chemicals. You can also teach your kids about food production with backyard gardening.
Some beginners start by planting vegetables that are easy to grow, and garlic is at the top of the list. IT is very easy to grow as it requires little attention and has a long shelf life once it is cured. It can even add flavor to a mundane dish.
Garlic is an ancient bulbous vegetable and a member of the allium family. You can also grow garlic from individual cloves broken off from the whole bulb. Each glove planted in the ground can multiply and form into new bulbs that consist of 5-10 cloves.
Where and When to Plant Garlic
Garlic thrives in sunny locations. It doesn’t like shady areas, and you can directly plant it in the ground. Garlic can stave off aphids, making them a great companion to lettuce. However, avoid planting garlic near potatoes, peas, and legumes.
Also, as you are a garlic grower, avoid planting garlic in an area where you recently used to plant garlic or other plants from the allium family, like onions. Also, garlic doesn’t like to be planted in wet areas where water can collect around its roots. This will cause root rot or the garlic to catch diseases.
The best time to plant garlic is in the fall. Some gardeners plant garlic during spring since most vegetables are planted during this season. However, garlic planted in spring will still provide you a good harvest, although the bulbs will be smaller compared to the ones planted during fall.
Garlic loves fertile and well-drained soil. Some people often plant some in raised beds, where it also works very well. When planting garlic, remove stones 6 inches of soil. You can use several inches of compost or manure into the bed, together with 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Planting garlic during fall:
- Set cloves root side down 4 to 6 inches apart in a row of 1 ½ to 2 feet apart.
- Cover the cloves with 1 to 2 inches of fine soil.
- If you live in the Northern region, put down 6 inches of mulch to protect the garlic during winter.
- Garlic will then start growing in late fall or early spring.
How to Plant Garlic
When planting garlic, make sure to plant it in an area that receives plenty of natural light every day. Having a sunny spot for garlic is the key to a successful growing and fruitful harvest. Here’s how to plant garlic:
Step 1: Mix the compost with the soil where you want to plant your garlic.
Step 2: Set up a string line across the ground and use a trowel to dig holes in the ground.
Step 3: Separate the garlic cloves.
Step 4: Put the cloves in fertile and well-drained soil, about 4 to 6 inches apart.
Step 5: Make sure to plant the cloves with the pointed end up and the blunt end down.
Step 6: Push the cloves 1 to 2 inches into the ground, cover them, and firm the soil around them.
Step 7: Water the garlic. Do not overwater it since garlic doesn’t love wet soil.
After planting the garlic, lay down a protective mulch of your choice. It could be mulch straw, chopped leaves, or grass clippings. In regions that experience cold winters, the mulch should be approximately 4 inches thick to prevent the garlic roots from being heaved out by freezing and thawing. A small amount of mulch is useful in milder climates to control the growth of weeds during winter.
When to Harvest and Store Garlic
Once the leaves of your garlic turn brown, your garlic is likely ready to be harvested. The harvesting season usually occurs in mid-July to early August depending on your local climate. To harvest, dig up the bulbs carefully and avoid bruising them.
If the garlic stays too long in the ground or you have passed the harvesting season, the cloves may separate and not be stored well. Lay the garlic out to dry for 2 to 3 weeks in a shady space with good air circulation.
If you think the roots are brittle and dry, try rubbing them off along with loose dirt. Avoid getting the bulbs wet and breaking them apart for the garlic will not last long.
To store the garlic, tie it to the ground, braid the leaves or cut the stem a few inches above the bulb. Hang the braids and bunches or store the loose bulbs on screens or slatted shelves in a cool and airy location.
If you have large bulbs, you might keep and use them for replanting them the next planting season. When winter arrives, check the stored garlic regularly for some garlic cloves may show signs of sprouting, and consider using them promptly.
Tips for Growing Garlic
Here are some key tips to achieve successful garlic growing and harvest.
- Soil Preparation
Garlic will grow in any type of soil, but for the best outcomes, it is better to plant it in fertile and well-drained soil. Also, don’t forget to enrich your soil with compost or mulch.
- Avoid Overwatering
Garlic doesn’t like wet soil because it causes root rot. A garlic plant only needs a total of an inch of water per week. Be mindful about overwatering your garlic plant, especially if the harvesting season is near.
- Cut the Scapes
Some experts at growing garlic recommend cutting the scapes to prevent them from stealing energy from the growing bulbs, while some say you don’t need to cut them. Some varieties of garlic have curving and flowering scapes that look like a nice floral arrangement.
The young scapes are tender and can be added to soups and salads for a nice aroma and flavor. Cutting the scapes promotes better bulb growth, and scapes can be useful in some other ways if you remove them.
- Garden Markers
Garden markers are only applicable if you are growing a variety of garlic. These markers will help you remember what variety you have planted in a specific area. Garden markers are an easy way to label your rows since you sometimes tend to forget what variety you have planted given that all garlic varieties look the same.
- Rotate Your Crops
As previously mentioned, garlic doesn’t like to be planted in the same spot. You might want to consider rotating your crops year after year to avoid wasting time, effort, and money. Remember, it also applies to other allium families, like leeks, onions, and chives.
Benefits of Garlic
Who doesn’t like the smell of the aromatic garlic in their food? Aside from being very easy to grow and not occupying a large space when growing, garlic could offer some great benefits. Garlic is classified as a superfood due to the many health benefits it offers.
Here are ten proven and health benefits of growing and eating garlic:
- Garlic can reduce inflammation, according to studies. It can also help reduce pain and other chronic symptoms.
- According to research, garlic may protect against certain types of cancers.
- Garlic can help you maintain a healthy weight because it contains beneficial allicin.
- Garlic can also help lower bad cholesterol and raise the level of good cholesterol.
- Adding garlic to your diet can help manage your blood pressure.
- One of the natural proponents of garlic is preventing the common cold.
- Garlic is also known to have antiviral properties.
- Garlic also has antibacterial properties.
- Garlic helps regulate the blood sugar of a diabetic person.
- Garlic helps protect your heart from cardiovascular ailments and free radicals.
- Garlic helps get rid of prostate, colon, and stomach cancer cells.
- Garlic also wards off germs and bacteria in the body.
- Garlic contains many nutrients, including potassium, chromium, sulfides, vitamins B and C, and selenium.
- According to scientific research, garlic contains an antimicrobial compound that prevents the formation of nitrosamine, which is a carcinogen. A carcinogen is an organic compound that often leads to cancer.
Consuming garlic is one way to enjoy the fruit of your growing labor. You can add garlic to your meals and wait 10 minutes before adding it to the dish you are cooking. Garlic is known as a medicinal plant that could treat acne, psoriasis, toothache, and athlete’s foot.
Growing garlic is easy, cheap, and perfect for beginners as it requires little attention, unlike other vegetables. It is important to note that to achieve successful garlic growth, you must follow the steps and tips we discussed above. Also, it is beneficial to know where your garlic plant would best thrive and grow.