One of the most widely used ingredients in almost any kind of cuisine is garlic. Apart from being a delicious food additive, it has many medicinal benefits too. And that's not it. It is one of the easiest plants to grow.
It does not require too much space, is not very fussy about the soil, can withstand tough weather, and also helps to protect other plants growing in the vicinity. So, are you keen on growing garlic at home now that you've seen what a simple plant it is? Follow the simple steps and instructions given here and you can have your own patch in your home.
When to Plant Garlic
Growing garlic indoors or in a full-fledged vegetable garden is a matter of your choice. However, you need to know when the right time to grow it is so that you can be assured that when you go about harvesting it, you get the right size of bulbs and the right quantity.
Generally, there are two times in a year when you can plant garlic cloves. Both have their benefits and ensure a good harvest.
Early Spring: Many people prefer to plant garlic in the early days of spring, especially if they want to plant seeds. The garlic seeds are frozen for around two or three weeks before they are planted. This is because the seeds can sprout only in extremely cold conditions.
After that you can remove the seeds and plant them in the soil. The benefit of planting garlic in the spring, approximately towards the end of February or the beginning of March, is that it will sprout and grow before the winter arrives. This saves it from the danger of being damaged by the harsh cold.
Late Winter: Another practice is to wait out the peak of fall and plant garlic in the late winter. What happens is the seeds or bulbs are already exposed to the cold weather.
So, it is advisable to go about planting the garlic after the worst of the winter is over. Somewhere around the middle of October or the beginning of November is the perfect time. If extremely cold weather continues, you can cover the shoots that have grown out, to protect them.
How to Grow Garlic
You can either grow garlic from a clove or grow them directly from seeds. For seeds, as mentioned, you need to keep them in an area with a low temperature before planting, and if you are planning to grow them from cloves, then you need to plant single cloves, in an upright position.
The upright position means the flat portion of the clove facing downwards and the tapering portion facing upwards. Plant it about 1 inch into the soil in an area that receives sufficient sunlight, and in soil that is not too wet.
How to Harvest Garlic
For harvesting garlic, you need to watch the plant regularly for the signs of maturity. When the leaves of the shoot begin to appear brown and dry, they will eventually fall away from the plant. When you see this, take it as a sign that the garlic is ready to be harvested.
Do not harvest them before the leaves dry or much later after they dry. The former will result in tiny bulbs, and the latter will make the bulb break up inside the ground.
Each clove produces only a single bulb of garlic. Once you harvest the bulbs, leave them out in a cold and dry environment for about a week or so. You can then proceed to dusting the dirt and mud off the bulbs.
Now that you know when to plant and how to grow garlic, growing them should not be a problem. Go ahead, have your own little garlic garden.