Many, many, many, several, too many to count … years ago, my father brought home some garlic. He got it from an old Italian man at work. Actually, I’m making up the old Italian man part, but it seems entirely possible.
And THAT is when my garlic growing obsession began. I’m obsessed with many things, that’s how I’ve learned to do so much and why I can’t sleep at night because I’m always plotting, planning or cleaning up after my latest venture. Occasionally I’m getting rid of evidence.
For the first few years of growing garlic I did everything right. There are rules and regulations to garlic growing, as there are rules and regulations to everything in life. Especially how one should read the comics from the newspaper. Which is from back to front.
I produced some terrific garlic during that period. Then … I got a little lazy. I forgot to dig it up at the end of the season, left it to rot, ignored it. Yet, every year … that garlic kept coming. Kept growing back from the bulbs I rudely left to rot in the ground.
Why am I telling you all this? To let you know, any idiot can grow garlic. Seriously. When’s the last time you watched a television special on the “Remarkable Garlic Growing Person”? Never. Because you do not have to be remarkable in any way, shape or form to grow garlic.
You just need some garlic and some dirt. Oh. And some fall weather. You need fall weather to plant garlic. So NOW’S THE TIME!
Now’s your last chance actually. I’ve left this a bit later than I should have, but if you live in Southern Ontario or a climate similar to Southern Ontario you should be O.K. with planting now. And by now I mean, today.
You can just buy the garlic you want to plant at your local grocery store. As long as the garlic hasn’t been treated with anything to keep it from sprouting you’ll be fine. As a little experiment, I bought 2 heads of garlic. One bulb of regular giant garlic and a packagage of smaller, organic garlic. I figure if it’s organic there’s no chance it’s been treated with anything.
Separate your garlic head into separate cloves. Just pull them apart. Pick out the biggest cloves for planting.
The end with the flat part is the root of the garlic.
The pointy end is the tip of the garlic. It needs to point up.
You want to plant the garlic “root” end down. Like so. The bigger the clove you plant, the bigger the resulting head of garlic will be. If you sprinkle a little oregano on top of the garlic and squeeze a tomato over everything in 9 months you’ll have grown a delicious marinara sauce. No you won’t.
Plant the cloves so they’re around 4 inches apart and their tips are covered by an inch or two of dirt.
Cover them up and wait. Through the fall the clove will start to develop roots and maybe even a shoot depending on how warm your weather is.
By the spring with a little help from sun, water and these little guys to aerate the soil you’ll have garlic plants starting! A single clove, produces an entire head of garlic.
Once the scapes form next summer, pinch them off so the plant’s energy can go towards forming the bulb, not the scape flower. (I’ll review this part next year but for now have a look at this old post I did on using scapes as a flower arrangement. It’ll give you an idea of what a “scape” is. Basically it’s the forming flower head and stem of the garlic plant)
By August or so, the plant leaves will start to dry out and turn brown. Once all the leaves and stems are brown, they’re ready to harvest. THEN you can use em for your marinara sauce.