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Fall Garlic! How do you plant it?

  • October 19, 2015
  • Written by Melinda Confrey

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time already – time to start ordering and prepare for planting garlic! Here are some instructions for planting garlic and how to order the right amount. Already know what you need?

Garlic is best planted in the fall for harvest the following summer. It can be planted in spring, but this will result in lower yields and is not recommended, as cloves that have not been exposed to temperatures below 65 degrees may not form bulbs. Garlic is very cold-hardy and starts growing again early in the spring after planting. Hardneck garlics produce flower stalks called scapes in early summer. The scapes should be cut to encourage larger bulb development and are also a popular food and marketable product. Garlic bulbs are then ready to dig and cure around mid to late summer, after the lower leaves have dried down.

The best time to plant garlic depends on where you live – but generally it should be planted between the end of October and end of November, after the first frost but before the ground freezes. Our garlic ships between October 6th and 15th, and sells out every year – so if you’re thinking about planting garlic this fall, now is the time to order. Whether you’re a Music lover or a Spanish lover, don’t get your heart broken when they sell out!

How to Plant:

Garlic prefers soft, loamy soil with good fertility and likes to be covered with a thick mulch. A thick layer of straw mulch laid down after planting helps prevent the garlic from “heaving” out of the soil when the ground freezes, and will also help keep down spring weeds.

Separate bulbs into individual cloves right before planting, being careful not to break off the basal scar, which protects the bulbs from rotting. Plant each clove with the basal root end down, and pointed tip up. Larger cloves will produce larger bulbs with fewer cloves, while smaller cloves will produce heads with more small cloves. Small cloves, especially those found on softneck bulbs, can be sown in the fall at a close planting density for garlic greens.

For most hardneck and softneck varieties individual cloves should be planted 2″ deep (if mulching) or 3-4″ deep (if not using mulch), with the cloves 6″ apart in rows 18″ apart. Elephant garlic requires a wider spacing of 8-12″.

How Much Do You Need?

The amount of space that can be planted from a bag of garlic depends mainly on how many cloves are in each head for that variety.

Softnecks weigh about 2.25oz/bulb, so you get about 50 seed cloves/lb with roughly 7-10 seed cloves/bulb. For a 10 foot bed with 3 rows in it, you would need 60 cloves or a little over 1lb. That translates to about 60,000 cloves/acre (~1,200lb/acre) using 6” bulb spacing and 18” row spacing.

Hardnecks weigh about 2oz/bulb so there are about 40 seed cloves/lb with 4-7 seed cloves/bulb. Since hardnecks and softnecks use the same spacing, the number you need is the same – about 60,000 cloves/acre using 6” bulb spacing and 18” row spacing. However the weight of garlic you need will be different, about 1.5 lbs for a 10 foot bed or 1,500 lbs/acre.

Happy planting!

Article Courtesy of: 

The Seed Hopper, High Mowing Organic Seeds:

 

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