Hi I'm Tricia a California organic gardener. Garlic is easy and fun to grow I'm going to show you how!
So for optimum bulb size you want to plant in the late fall just after the first frost. For us here in the foothills that's about November. To get my garlic off to a great start I've broken apart the heads into cloves and I've soaked them in kelp extract overnight. Garlic likes to be planted in loose soil with lots of organic matter I'm adding a little bit of compost here to increase the organic matter.
Space garlic rows about eighteen inches apart and plant the cloves ever four to six inches. You want to plant the cloves with the blunt end down. This is the end with the root nodes Cover the clove with about two inches of soil.
Mulching is really important you want to do a light mulch over all of the garlic you've planted. In northern areas you want to use a much heavier mulch If the winter mulch is very heavy you're going to want to remove some of it in the spring time. Garlic is easy to grow and early in the season you're going to treat it just like you would your lettuces or greens. You want to water it regularly and then foliar feed it with kelp and fish.
Weed regularly and mulch heavily because garlic doesn't like competition. Garlic likes even moisture throughout the growing season. The mulch and drip line is really going to help you achieve that. An important summer activity is trimming the scapes. So the scape is this curly flower stock and it produces these bulbils and you can grow garlic from these bulbils. It does take about two to three years to grow garlic from these bulbils so most growers just cut the scapes. It's time to cut the scapes when they curl down back into the leaves like these, cuttings scapes will help improve the size of the bulb and keep the scapes they're really yummy in stir fries or steamed in butter like garlic green beans.
For most varieties harvest time happens between mid-July and the beginning of August. Watch your plants closely when the leaves' tips start to turn brown you're getting close to being ready to harvest and at that time to stop the water and wait about two weeks or so. Once the plants are about one-third brown you can check the bulb size by brushing away the mulch. You can also dig up one or two plants to see if they're ready. It's better to harvest too early than too late, wow that's a beauty.
After you harvest cure your garlic by tying it in bunches or braiding it if it is a softneck garlic and hanging it in a dark place with good air circulation for all sides of the bulbs. For me a day without garlic is like a day without sunshine so plant some garlic this fall and grow organic for life!