Well we're just coming up to the first Garlic Harvest time of the year, usually 8 to 12 weeks after the snow has left. At least for those of us who planted in the fall. If you didn't plant any then you still have another chance. Right Now. Growing Garlic is really quite easy, I hope you give it a try.

Usually Garlic is planted in the fall (Hardneck Garlic) three to eight weeks before the first autumn freeze. Or in the spring (Softneck Garlic) after the last frost. It prefers loamy, neutral to slightly acidic soil. ... Soaking the cloves before planting helps prevent fungal infections and promotes healthy growth. Plant lots of garlic. It’s one of the most economical garden crops.Garlic-7.png

A perennial garlic bed can be established by growers only taking the largest plants each year, leaving the smaller ones to die back so they can sprout again next spring. If some garlic is always left in the ground, more will come back next year: Perennial production.

Garlic is a 'heavy feeder,' so it will not grow large if nutrients are lacking. The best garlic plant fertilizer will be high in nitrogen, those containing blood meal. To side dress, work the fertilizer in an inch down or so and about 3-4 inches from the plant. Fertilize every three to four weeks.

If the soil is too nitrogen-rich, however, garlic will focus on vegetative growth, resulting in large leaves above small bulbs. If you have any left over coffee grounds, a handful on top of the clove will help it grow, as garlic likes an acidic soil pH. ...

To plant garlic, gently remove the outer skin from the entire bulb and separate the individual cloves, taking care not to damage them. (Leave in place the thin papery skin that covers each clove.)

Choose about eight to ten of the largest cloves from the outside of the bulb for planting. Growing garlic in containers provides that just-picked flavor for the strongest bulbs ever. You need one that is at least 6 inches (15 cm.) deep and around, it should also have excellent drainage. Cover the clove with soil and a bit of mulch to keep it insulated over the winter. When it starts growing in the spring, it will grow best when it receives at least six hours of full sun daily.

Only water the plants when necessary, deeply once a week. Watering garlic is not necessary unless there is a drought, in which case water sparingly, as garlic hates wet soil. Reduce the watering gradually as the season warms up. The garlic needs a hot, dry summer to allow the bulbs to mature. Too much water at the end of their season is what causes the wrappers to split. And then they will not store well.

Garlic is usually ready to harvest in early summer. Autumn-planted garlic will be ready to harvest in June and July and spring-planted garlic will be ready slightly later, from seven to eight months after they are planted. The outward signs are the green leaves, which will begin to turn brown, and the flower stems – if present – which will begin to soften, although staying green. If garlic is flowering, it can still be harvested, although the inflorescence will redirect energy from the bulb into the flower. For larger bulbs, remove the scapes and eat them before the buds burst open.

Garlic-6.pngGarlic scapes are the first tender green shoots on garlic which will become bulbills. They are edible especially when young and add a delicate garlic flavor to salads, soups and sauces. You can use them just as you would use chives. The green tops stem and flower bud of a hardneck garlic plant (Hardneck garlic is the kind of garlic that typically grows in Canada). Scapes first grow straight out of the garlic bulb, then coil.

When harvested, they look like long, curly green beans. Cut the scape at the base of the plant. You can eat the slim green leaves and the bud-like structure. You can also just pinch or bend off the stems. They should snap off easily. Scapes are delicious and can be used just like garlic, but they are ready a month or two before the garlic bulb. Win, win! To cut your scape, wait until the centre stalk completely forms and grows above the rest of the plant. If you would like larger more robust garlic bulbs, it's inadvisable to allow them to flower, but letting the scapes themselves appear does not seem to slow bulb growth.

About 10 days before harvest flush the soil by soaking it deeply 2 or 3 three times, then stop watering at least a week before harvest, you want to allow the plant to start to wilt just a small amount, because then the plant “thinks” it is dying and as a last-ditch effort, it will increase the rich resin development.

Each leaf on the above-ground garlic plant represents one potential papery wrapper around the mature bulb. A garlic plant with 10 green leaves, for example, will have 10 layers of bulb wrappers.

Having well developed, fully intact wrapper layers means that garlic will store longer and keep its wonderful aroma and flavour. The trick is to let the plants begin to die back, but harvest before all the leaves have turned brown.

While there’s no standard number of leaves that garlic should have, a reliable harvest indicator is when half the leaves have died off, and half are still green. The leaves will start to die off from the bottom up.

The top-most, green leaves extend down, into the soil, around each garlic bulb. When the lower two thirds of leaves have dried up and turned brown, the garlic bulbs will be at their best. Because there are still green leaves, there is still quite a lot of moisture left in the bulbs. The process of allowing this moisture to reduce naturally is called “curing” and will increase the storage life of garlic bulbs by months.

Harvest garlic bulbs gently. Take time to loosen the soil above each bulb. Avoid piercing the bulbs by loosening the soil some distance from each one with a fork. Do not rely on simply pulling upwards on the stem, but rather pull gently and at the same time coax the bulb out of the soil with the other hand. All this fuss will be worth it if the bulb can be extracted without damaging the protective layers.

garlic-love sml.pngOnce the bulbs are dug, Do not wash them off or get the bulbs wet. Leave the stalks and roots on the bulbs while they cure. Allow the bulbs to cure for three to four weeks either in a well-ventilated room or a dry, shady spot outside. Lay the plants in a single layer somewhere that is dry, airy, and out of direct sunshine (it changes the flavor of fresh garlic). Leave the plants (turning them every few days doesn’t hurt) like this for at least a week. The green leaves should dry up and turn brown on their own. This can take several weeks if a lot of moisture is present in the plants’ tissues, so play it by ear.

When the bulbs are cured, and no green is left showing on the upper leaves, the garlic will be ready for cleaning and storage. An old toothbrush is the preferred tool to loosen and scrub away any soil still stuck to the bulbs, then trim the roots with scissors. This is the time to braid soft-neck garlic. For hard-neck garlic, trim the stem to within about three inches from the bulb. If the stem is pliant or seems to still have a moist core, it’s worth letting the garlic dry for another week. Garlic netting is the best way to store hardneck garlic bulbs, but they can also be tied in small bundles and hung for easy access in the kitchen.

Hang the strings out of direct light where it is warm with good air circulation - a temperature of 27°C (80°F) is ideal and two weeks drying time is ideal. This way the bulbs dry evenly and without spoilage. You want the wrappers to dry and the garlic to retain its moisture and oils.

You can eat fresh-pulled garlic whenever you want — but be sure to keep the garlic plant intact until you're ready to eat the cloves, but if you let it dry slowly in the shade, it will last for several months. Garlic tied into bunches can hang from the ceiling beams until needed.Garlic-5.png

Storing garlic in the refrigerator tends to cause sprouting. Hardnecks keep from three to six months and should be used first. The longer-lasting Softnecks keep for six to nine months. Harvest and store in a cool, dark place.

Garlic gets along with most plants, but it should not be grown to close too asparagus, peas, beans, sage, parsley because it will stunt their growth.

Among common herbs, onions and garlic go together with chamomile, dill, savoury and parsley. Other companions to plant near onions and garlic include beets, sweet peppers, spinach, lettuce and parsnips. Plant with brassicas (cabbage, turnips, sprouts and mustard), carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radish.

Many plants seem to attract bugs like aphids or caterpillars. Planting garlic or onions around these plants can keep the pests away for the entire growing season without affecting the flavour of vegetables or herbs. Garlic can be used to make a paste or spray garlic water onto the plants that acts a lot like the pesticide.

Garlic is versatile when it comes to freezing. You can freeze raw whole unpeeled bulbs, individual cloves (peeled or unpeeled), or chopped garlic. ... Frozen garlic lacks the crunchy texture of fresh, but the flavor remains strong.

Garlic is extremely beneficial for your lipid profile. This means: Drinking garlic water will help stabilize your blood pressure! - Studies have shown that raw garlic can effortlessly lower blood glucose levels. ... And garlic water is perfect for that!

You can eat garlic regularly to help with weight loss, most often used as a food ingredient, it is also an effective medicine that helps in burning belly fat and detoxification. Research suggests that garlic can be effective in weight loss and is an inevitable part of a balanced diet.

Try: raw garlic with water first thing in the morning. In fact, you can add lemon juice and garlic in warm water and drink the solution. Lemon juice is a weight loss stimulant and is said to be one of the best ingredients to help you cut the bulge.

Eating garlic that has gone bad might not agree with your stomach, but there's a bigger risk with this unassuming bulb that you need to be aware of. You may be surprised to learn that consuming garlic that has been stored in oil can cause botulism, a kind of food poisoning.

Plant the biggest, best looking bulbs – or choose some new garlic varieties. It’s very economical to grow.

Thanks for reading.

 


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