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Sunday, November 4, 2018

11 Tips for Successfully Planting Garlic in Your Vegetable Gardens

11 Tips for Successfully Planting Garlic in Your Vegetable Gardens

Garlic is really easy to grow once you figure out the basics. Here are 11 tips to get you started growing garlic in your vegetable gardens. The video covers and demonstrates all 11 tips.

11 Tips for Planting Garlic: The Rusted Garden

Tip 1:  Garlic does not like to sit in water or prolonged wet soil. Make sure your garden soil drains well and water doesn't sit in or pool to that area of your garden. I plant my garlic in 12 inch raised beds. This is probably the most important tip to successfully growing garlic in your garden.

Tip 2:  Rotate garlic to a new planting area every 3-4 years. Garlic can be susceptible to rot. Even if you are growing in well drain soil to minimize issues, rot can come to your garlic cloves. Rotation is the best way to practice good garlic garden hygiene.

Tip 3:  Garlic cloves will form garlic bulbs. Make sure your garden soil is really loose to a depth of 6-12 inches. You want garlic roots to easily penetrate into the soil and you want the plant to be able to easily push through the soil as the bulbs forms and expands. You may need to add sand, coco coir, compost or peat moss to loosen heavier soils.

Tip 4:  Garlic prefers a pH of 6-7. Most garden soils sit between 5.5 and 6.5. If you use compost regularly, your garden beds are most likely in that 6-7 range. You can raise the pH of soil by adding lime to the planting area. If you are having problems growing garlic, it would be a good idea to test the pH of your soil.

Tip 5:  There are basically two categories of garlic called hardneck and softneck garlic. The are many different garlic varieties that fall into these two categories. The best way to see what your zone is best suited for is to do a quick search on garlic zones.  Here in Maryland Zone 7, I can growth both types but have found hardneck garlic seems to do the best out of the two. There are hundreds of different varieties you can grow.

Garlic Spacing and Planting Depth: The Rusted Garden

Tip 6:  Don't over fertilize you garlic beds. It most cases there is plenty of fertilizer already in your soil from the season. A basic organic granular 5-5-5  NPK fertilizer is best. Garlic is a bulb and therefore people often think you need more phosphorous. However, garlic also likes nitrogen. A 5-5-5. will cover all the needs of garlic. I lightly fertilize at planting and come early spring, I give them a big drink of a balanced water soluble fertilizer.

Tip 7:  Garlic needs a cold period or a stratification period. Planting garlic in the fall provides the cold period it needs. I plant my bulbs between October 15th and November 15th. This will vary somewhat based on your Zone. The key is to get them in the ground before it freezes but not so early that they stay warm and begin over growing.

Tip 8: Mature garlic bulbs will form to different sizes based on the variety you purchase.  A general rule of thumb that works is to plant them 3-4 inches deep and space them 4-6 inches apart. You can experiment with this and see what works best in your Zone for any specific variety.

Tip 9:  You can plant garlic deeper as you get into colder zones. The key is to plant them below the freeze depth of your soil. You don't want a clove to freeze solid.  But you don't have to always go deeper. You can add several inches of mulch to your planting beds. You can use straw, hay, leaves or shredded hardwood. As spring approaches, remove the mulch.

Tip 10:  Nature is amazing. There is a top and bottom  to garlic cloves. If you can't figure it out, just plant the clove on its side and it will take care of itself.

Tip 11:  Don't water your garlic in. Just leave it alone until the spring. If it stays warm, you might get several inches of green shoots that will yellow and die when the freeze of winter arrives. Don't worry about it. Just let the garlic chill for the fall and winter. The root system will be growing in the ground. That is all that matters.

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