Love garlic? Try growing your own! Garlic doesn’t need to be watered, deer don’t eat it and, if you treat your plants to some mulch, weeding isn’t a big issue either. Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Get Your Seed
Some grocery store garlic won’t germinate properly, but organic garlic, “seed” garlic from garden stores, and bulbs grown by friends or family will sprout and grow just fine. Visit your local farmers market and choose from many different varieties, from Music to Russian Red, or order online from a seed company like Salt Spring Seeds.
Step 2: Prepare Your Garden
Raised beds/rows are the secret to avoiding mould in our wet winters. And plan ahead: you’ll want to stop watering your garlic in July, so don’t plant garlic with your vegetables that need water (e.g. tomatoes).
Step 3: Plant!
September and October are traditionally garlic-planting months. Separate your garlic bulb into its cloves, without peeling off the wrapping around each clove. Then plant each clove 6-12” apart, pointy side up, about 2” deep. Covering the garlic bed with up to 4” of dead leaves or grass clippings will help prevent weeds.
Step 4: Leave it Alone
Leave your garlic plants to do their magic. You don’t even need to water them. In June, a shoot will start to emerge from the top of the plant and will get curly, like a pig’s tail. Snap it off (it’s edible) to ensure your plant produces a large bulb. Pull the whole plant from the soil in mid-July when half of the leaves have died down. Brush any soil from the bulb and roots and leave the whole plant to cure in a dry, shady, breezy place for several weeks before snipping off the stem and roots. Easy!