Why plant garlic? It’s the world of flavors that await in every bulb, of course! Cooked garlic offers several dimensions that come alive depending on how you prepare it, (of course it belongs in so many Italian dishes!) and so many varieties are available in the spring at Beaver Bark that you just won’t be able to pick only one.
When to plant? Cloves can be planted in late winter as soon as the soil thaws, but it’s true that fall-planted garlic produces bigger, better bulbs. If you missed the fall planting, don’t fret! Ask which garlic will work best for your situation.
Start with a sunny site, and loosen the planting bed to at least 12 inches deep. Thoroughly mix in a 1-inch layer of compost. In acidic soil, bring down the pH for best results. Wait until just before planting to break bulbs into cloves. Poke the cloves into the ground 4 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart, with their pointed ends up. Cover the planted area with 3 to 5 inches of organic mulch.
From early summer to midsummer, watch plants closely and harvest when the soil is dry and about one-third of the leaves appear pale and withered. Use a digging fork to loosen the soil before pulling the plants. Handle the newly pulled bulbs delicately to avoid bruising them. Lay the whole plants out to dry in a warm, airy, protected spot. After a week or so, brush off soil from the bulbs, and clip roots to half an inch long. Wait another week before clipping off the stems of hardneck varieties or trimming and braiding softnecks into clusters. Leave the papery outer wrappers alone, as these inhibit sprouting and rot.
Hang your cured crop in mesh bags, or braid softneck types and suspend from rafters in a cool, dry basement or garage. Enjoy at will!