GROWING GARLIC – JUST THE FACTS
As part of our excursions for promoting our garlic chopping, peeling and storage products, we attended a garlic growing seminar. Much to our surprise, there is a lot to learn about this wonderful vegetable and growing garlic can actually be very simple.
First off, garlic can be grown from seed or clove. Seeds form from the bulbil, the flower which forms at the top of the scape (the stalk).
When growing from clove, the general rule to follow is “the bigger the clove, the bigger the bulb will form”. Separate one clove from a hearty, big ‘locally grown’ garlic bulb, keep the dry skin on it and put it into the soil about 1.5” deep, pointy part up, cover with soil, water and walk away. Do this in October/November before the winter comes. If you missed planting in the Fall, you can still plant in April and get a harvest in August.
Cloves planted in November/April need cold weather and short days to trigger it to spout. So when spring time comes this shift occurs and you will see a little green shoot coming out of the ground.
Usually around July you will notice the bulbils starting to form at the top of the scape. Depending who you talk with you will either need to cut the bulbil off or tie the scape in a knot to prevent the bulbil from growing. If the bulbil forms, this will take all the energy from the plant and divert it to the flower for reproduction.
Some say it isn’t advisable to cut the bulbil off because the cut will open the plant up to viruses. It is best to bend the stem (scape) and break it leaving the pith (inside of stalk) in tact, thus not damaging or ripping the stalk.
Growing garlic is really not all that difficult. Before you know it, in August/September when the stalk is half brown, half green it is time to harvest.