How should I start growing garlic

ctack2July 26, 2007

I am interested in trying to grow garlic for the first time and have a few questions. I am in Middle Tennessee, zone 6b. I want to start real small just to see what I think of home grown garlic. I have never had garlic except what you buy in a jar at the store so don't want to deviate TOO much from that taste until I feel a little more adventurous.

Now my questions:

1 - What variety would you suggest I start with for a first time?

2 - When should I plant it in this zone?

3 - How should the bed be prepared? Remember, I just want to try a little bit my first year.

4 - Can I just stack up a few tires, fill them with dirt, and plant in that small area just for a trial?

Thanks for any help you can offer me.

Carol B

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Hi Carol , I live in Louisiana and love to grow garlic. My sister lives in Hendersonville Tn, and they grow garlic also with no problems. Look , will tell you what I know , and you can go from there . I would just go to the grocery store , buy a bulb of garlic and break it apart , plant it in the flower bed , it is a beautiful plant and will grace any flower garden !I plant about Sept and then dig it the following July , after the bloom has turned brown. When it is dug , there are little brown things left in the ground ,and it will produce a garlic plant in the spring ! So dear one , you never have to plant in that space again , just be sure and dig it each fall , and reap the harvest . ok , now for a little info , when you buy garlic it is in a big Bulb , you break that apart and you have cloves , when you plant the cloves , in late summer , it will multiply and so when you dig it , there will be the bulbs again , also you will find in the ground ,balls bigger than a marble , that is also garlic, and I cook with that also . Then like I told you , there are little brown garlic things that are to hard to cut up , so leave them in the ground for next Julys harvest . Unless you are as crazy about garlic as I am , you will only need about 2 bulbs of garlic when you buy at the grocery . Now , I dig the garlic at the last of July and hang the stalks in the rafter of the shed so they can dry and don't touch anything . When they are dry , I break off the roots and dirt , cut off the stalk and put them in a tupperware container in the freezer . I love having fresh garlic on hand , but grow too much , so have put them in the freezer for years now , with no problem . Do not wash the garlic untill ready to cook . Remember your other flower plants and roses love garlic to grow close to them, keeps the bugs out , or so I think .The garlic stalk and bloom will remind you of Allium .... ALL the luck in the world to you , and hope to hear next July that you have a Bumper crop of garlic. Leta

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 1:53PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

The round ones bigger than a marble are "rounds." Instead of eating them, plant them--they are sometimes bigger than individual cloves and will produce a bigger head of garlic than a smaller clove would.

The hard dark or gold ones are called cormes I believe. They are common on Elephant garlic. They are hard to sprout but usually will. Probably the cormes you left in the ground sprouted and formed the "rounds."

There are many types and varieties of garlic, check places like for descriptions. The supermarket variety is a softneck. Hardnecks grow single layer cloves around a flower stalk called a "scape." Removing the scapes before they uncurl will give more energy to produce bigger bulbs. There are many different flavors so read up on different varieties that sound appealing to your likings. Also, some supermarket garlic is believed to have been sprayed with sprout inhibitors so your results may vary... most recommend buying "seed garlic" to plant which is just not treated, otherwise the same--it can be planted or eaten.

Garlic does best when planted in the fall, usually October or later depending on climate. I usually plant between Columbus Day & Halloween.

I just add lots of compost and you can add some bonemeal to the area or even a little bonemeal an inch below the clove you plant. Plant the cloves a couple/few inches below the surface, root end of the clove pointing down.

Harvest is the following July or so, depeding on climate.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 10:25AM
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If you use store bought garlic you'll have unpredictable results. I would recommend buying seed garlic from a farmers market, a local grower or the internet instead of using regular store bought garlic. Choose the largest heads you can find, plant the largest of those cloves, eat the smaller cloves. I should add that I prefer to grow hardneck vs softneck. Much easier to work/cook with.

Also, I would not rely on the "little brown things" left in the soil for next years crop. I reserve the largest heads from each years harvest, about 25, as seed garlic for the following fall planting. If you do the same than you buy seed garlic only once.

I agree with everythng Korney mentioned above. In addition to compost and bone meal, I add some composted chicken manure and rabbit manure to the bed and I sprinkle some blood meal in the early spring,

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:46AM
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