1. Plant cloves directly in the ground about 4-6 weeks before the soil
freezes (usually not until mid to late December in Connecticut
). Each clove will produce one plant with a single bulb – which may in turn contain up to twenty cloves.
2. Choose a garden site that gets plenty of sun and where the soil is not too damp. To avoid disease problems, don’t plant garlic in the same spot two years running.
3. Dig to a depth of 8 to 12 inches, and amend the soil with a 2-3 inch layer of compost to ensure the ideal combination of fertility, good drainage and moisture retention. Add a pinch of Pro Gro organic fertilizer to each planting hole.
4. Remove all traces of weeds; they’ll easily win out over garlic’s grass-like foliage.
5. Plant only the largest cloves from the bulb, and discard any that are pitted or tinged blue-green – both are signs of mold.
6. Set unpeeled cloves, pointy end up, 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart. Rows should be about 14-18 inches apart.
7. Top-dress the plants with compost. Once the ground has frozen, mulch the bed (chopped leaves or shredded straw are good for this) to protect plants from the cold. If you skip this step, your cloves will heave out of the ground as it freezes.
8. Remove the mulch in spring so the sun can warm the soil, and then feed with Pro Gro organic fertilizer and add a fresh layer of mulch when new growth begins. To ensure large bulbs, cut off any flower stalks that develop (these are called scapes and are not only edible, they are adelicacy) and fertilize young plants with fish emulsion twice during the spring and early summer.
9. Provide an inch of water a week.
10. Clip garlic leaves to use any time, but remove no more than 1/4 of a plant’s top growth or you’ll reduce bulb size.
11. Begin harvesting bulbs in early summer when the plants have five or six green leaves, with no more than one or two beginning to turn brown. In our area of CT, that is usually in July.
12. To harvest, drive a garden fork beneath the plants (be careful not to damage the bulbs), gently pry them loose, and then pull them out. Shake off any excess soil, and lay the plants in a pile. As soon as you’ve finished harvesting, move the plants to an airy location that is protected from sun and rain.
13. To cure garlic in preparation for storage, hang the bare bulbs with their foliage in bundles or spread them out on a table or rack. You can begin eating them right away, but bulbs intended for storage must be cured.
14. After a few weeks of curing, clean the bulbs carefully. Trim the stalks to 12 inch above the bulb, and trim the roots close to the bulb. Rub off the outer layer of skin around the bulb, and use a nailbrush or toothbrush to gently remove any soil clinging to the base. Try not to remove more wrapper layers than you have to. Store the bulbs in a well-ventilated, dark spot. Set aside the biggest bulbs for planting in the fall.
2016 Certified Organic Garlic Varieties
Offered by Natureworks
Music: Hardneck porcelain type garlic with large succulent cloves, usually 4-5 per bulb. Tight white skins make them excellent for storage; although not suitable for braiding they can be tied and hung in attractive bundles.
Georgian Fire: Hardneck porcelain type with large cloves.
Garlic with blushed inner skins. Described as “fiery”, this variety sports large cloves and stores well. Maine-grown!
German Extra Hardy: Hardneck porcelain type with large, succulent cloves. 3-5 bulbs per bulb with a strong, robust flavor. Tight, white skin makes it a very good storage variety.
Russian Red: Hardeneck Rocambole type.
Reddish burgundy skin and light brown cloves. Spicy, deep garlic flavor. 6-12 cloves per bulb. Always delicious!
Porcelain Type- Larger cloves, full bodied, stores well.
Rocambole Type-One set of smaller cloves around woody stem which peel easily. Rich, full-bodied taste, stores well.