Autumn Gardening: Planting Garlic!

If you’re planning to continue gardening with us at CSCG for the 2018 season, it’s time to get your garlic cloves in some soil! Garlic is typically planted in the Fall and harvested the following summer. Our raised garden beds are sunny, rich, and well-drained; which is perfect for garlic.

Garlic should be planted 6 weeks prior to freeze. Planting garlic can be purchased at many local locations. This year we tried Pehoski Purple and German Extra Hardy-Porcelain. Make sure to get a variety that will do well in this region.

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German Extra Hardy-Porcelain (left) and Pehoski Purple (right)

Step 1: 

Separate the cloves from each bulb.

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Step 2:

This year we tried a pre-soak that was recommended to us by the folks at Paradigm Gardens. This soak gives the garlic a fertilizer boost and reduces any diseases that could be carried on the garlic bulbs. After the cloves are separated, put them in warm water with a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of fish emulsion. We used Age Old Organics, Fish and Seaweed Emulsion. Soak the garlic in the mixture for 1-12 hours (the longer the better). Drain the cloves and them soak them in Vodka for 10 minutes. This is what will kill any diseases.

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Step 3:

Plant the cloves into prepared soil about 3” deep and about 6-9” apart. Plant with the tip of the clove as straight up as possible (or you’ll get wonky shaped garlic!) and the root side down. Cover the cloves with 1-2” of soil.

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Step 4:

Cover the garlic with generous layer of straw mulch to protect it from the freeze and thaw of our harsh Wisconsin winter. You may want to protect your garlic from hungry critters by covering with a layer of chicken wire. It also may be a good idea to mark where you planted each clove so it’s still obvious next spring. We color coded ours so we can keep track of which variety and method does best. Let your garlic hibernate!

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In the spring, add more mulch to help encourage growth, retain moisture, and keep the weeds at bay. Make sure to keep the area around your garlic free of weeds. Later in the spring your garlic will begin to flower. Remove these flowering stalks to encourage growth of the garlic bulb itself instead of it putting its energy into flowering (you can eat these, they’re called garlic scapes!). In June, the garlic will stop producing new growth. At this time, remove any remaining mulch and allow the soil to dry out. Harvest in mid-July or August when you have 5 full green leaves remaining or 50% of the leaves have died from the bottom. The garlic can be removed and allowed to dry for 2-3 weeks in a cool, airy location. Enjoy your garlic now or store it to use through the fall and into the winter! Consider setting aside a few bulbs to replant!

If you need any help planting or need extra tips, feel free to reach out to us!

– Grayson & Krista

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