Growing Garlic

Garlic is a bulb plant so unlike other vegetables it can be planted in fall although the seed stores sell the seeds in spring. Soon after the primary killing frost which will be mostly in September to December, according to the area it is planted. Being a bulb plant it develops strong root system within the cold soil and stays quiet the whole winter and once the spring begins leaves begins to shoot up.
Similar to other vegetables garlic requires sun light and well drained, moist soil. The ground can be mixed with compost and garlic has to be planted with pointed end facing up at about one inch deep with six inches apart from each other.
Injury caused by sudden cold in spring or fall can be avoided by spreading some mulch for a few inches in the soil. Mulch helps to kill weeds and keep the soil moist.
If you develop the cloves in May and in June the plant should be watered properly since the root system is shallow. Watering is stopped during July to let the leaved die before harvest. The tiny root system of garlic will allow weeds to grow so the soil should be mulched all along the rising season and should be pulled out. Fertilizer can be supplemented in early and mid spring.
When garlic plant blooms the scapes should be removed even prior to the buds start to open since by doing this more energy is transmitted to the clove and better harvest results. The scapes can be used for cooking since it gives mild garlic taste.
In July, when the foliage starts to turn to the shade of yellow, it is the sign to harvest. Some gardeners wait for the leaves to turn brown may be till August. If in doubt one or two bulbs can be dug to see whether the wrapper or skin is being filled by the cloves. While harvesting the bulbs should be removed without separating the cloves. The leaves are cut and the soil brushed off and then the garlic is left to dry for 4 weeks.
If garlic needs to be braided then the foliage is braided together soon after removing and the braided bulb is hanged for numerous weeks. Garlic can be stored in a cold place and it will stay for nearly six months.
Two varieties of garlic are available in the market.
Hard neck type generate flower stalk which produces cloves in place of flowers. It is difficult to store this type since the flower stalk is hard to braid. They are suitable for Northern area gardens and usually give large cloves.
Soft neck types are easier to raise and easy to store and best grown in southern region gardens.

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