Garlic is so easy to grow. I have no idea why I waited this long to try. How many crops can you pop in the ground at the end of fall and pull up in early summer? The plants grow all winter with no effort on my behalf. I didn’t water them, or even check on them but maybe once every few weeks. Here are the easy steps I did. I am in Zone 7 in the Maryland of the United States.
Step 1. Order Garlic Bulbs. I ordered from Pine Tree Garden Seeds and tried three varieties: 123. I ordered this around October when everything else from my garden died off.
Step 2. Plant Those Suckers. As you can see from the picture below, I put them pretty close together knowing the bulbs would be at most have a three-inch to four-inch circumference. It seemed to work well. Pointy side goes up because this is where the stalk grows from. I put them about an inch down, covered them up, and walked away.
Step 3: Nothing. You literally do nothing for months. I did add a little straw around them for weed control in the Spring, but that’s it and probably not necessary.
Step 4: Scapes, Yum. Cut the scapes off the top and use them as you would garlic. Examples: soups, stocks, stir fried with other veggies, sesame noodles, potato salad, omelets, sauces, garlic bread. You want them when they are small and tender. I let a few go to the end because I was curious and I like to garden experiment. I cut then in early June. Here is a scape below, it’s curly.
Step 5: Harvest. Pull those bad boys up when the stalks start turning yellow. The big ones pull out easy, the small ones I had some stalks break off and had to dig them up by hand. No biggie, but I’d rather hang them to dry. It’s the end of June and I just pulled them all up. It’s hot out!
Step 6: Hang the Garlic. I clean the dirt off and strip some of the dirt clad skin off the bulbs. This is because once they are cured I want to bring them inside and not have dirt sprinkled all over the place. I cut remaining scapes off, bunched them together so the bulbs are staggered, tied them together in little bundles, and hung them in the garage. They should cure for about 4 weeks or more. Keep them dry and away from too much light. They like air circulation, so a small shed you never open may not be a great spot. Below you see I hang them in the garage and my mom has them in a large shed she has open most of the day, they are hanging on bike wheels (LOL).
Step 7: Remove Stalks. Cut the stalks when they are brown and shriveled up, then let cure another 2 weeks. I will lay them out on a cardboard box in the garage. I haven’t done this yet because I just pulled them.
Step 8: The End. Bring them inside and keep them in a dry, dark place. Use as you need.
Honestly, it could even go a bit longer. I figured out if you let it die back too much the stalks become weak and break when you try to pull them.