Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How to Grow Garlic

The only visible signs of life in my garden (aside from the dozens of worms in the soil) are the leaves (photo, right) of the 52 heads of garlic that I planted last October.

Back in the fall, I put 52 single cloves of garlic into the ground. As th
e garlic matures, leaves grow and appear above ground. In addition, the single cloves develop into full, six-cloved heads of garlic.

I am growing hardneck garlic, which is slightly different from the softneck variety that is found in supermarkets. Softneck garlic has multiple layers of cloves, while hardneck ha
s fewer, larger cloves that form in one circle around the central stem.

The garlic will be ready to pull from the ground in the middle of July, when the tips of the leaves (2-3 feet) start to brown. Several weeks before that, though, I’ll cut off the scapes (central stems) and use them to make a pesto.

For those who have never witnessed garlic straight from the
ground, click on the photo above to see last summer's garlic.

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