Organic Garlic

It’s easy and common enough for us to grow onions and leeks so why not garlic?  Garlic from your garden is far superior to that from the grocery store.  There’s simply no comparison between those bleach-white cloves from the store and the juicy, flavourful cloves you will grow yourself.

All you need is any moderately fertile, well-drained soil in a mostly sunny location and the right cloves to plant!    We are offering 2 varieties best suited to our location:  Yugoslavian Porcelains and Russian Red (pictured on the left.)

Unlike other vegetables, garlic is planted in early fall  (from late-September to mid-October.)   When you purchase garlic to plant, you receive full bulbs. You then split the bulbs into individual cloves for planting; each clove you plant can yield a full bulb—or head—the following summer. Unless they are tiny, size doesn’t much matter.  At Baraka Gardens we keep the largest bulbs for sale… we find they produce better.  As you separate cloves, try to keep the protective papery husk around each one.

Planting tips

Garlic is best planted in full sun.  The soil should be well drained, and dug to a depth of at least 20 centimetres, then raked to a smooth, level surface. Draw out furrows of about four to six centimetres deep across the bed with the corner of a hoe. Leave 20 centimetres between the rows. Push single cloves into the furrows, about 15 centimetres apart, until the tips are barely visible, then draw in the ridges of soil from the furrows over the planted cloves to a depth of five centimetres.

Mulch the garlic bed to avoid early sprouting and to moderate the soil temperature through the winter. A layer of dry leaves (10 centimetres) is enough to keep the earth from freezing and thawing repeatedly.

Very early the following spring, garlic’s leaves begin to grow solidly and by the end of May will be quite tall.  Insects avoid garlic plants, and less watering is better than too much as garlic does not like wet feet!

Thanks to Canadian Gardening and RasaCreek Farms (our supplier) for the tips.

For more information on planting, drying and storing, click on this Farmer’s Almanac link.