While garlic is often used as a herb it is, in fact, a vegetable. While I still recommend growing garlic in your medicinal herb garden as a valuable immune booster and antibiotic for your family it can also make a great addition to any vegetable or even salsa garden. We use garlic ins nearly every savory dish we cook both for the flavor and the health benefits of garlic. if you want a valuable plant to help repel mosquitoes from your garden you can not go wrong with planting garlic.
How to grow garlic
Garlic is an easy vegetable to grow at home. We have garlic growing in the back yard that should be blooming soon. It is a little slow this year with the cool wet weather we have had this year. While garlic can be grown from seed this can take two years before the plant produces an edible bulb. For this reason, lanting sprouted garlic cloves is the fastest way to get a return on your investment.
Garlic doesn’t take a lot of space to grow. In fact, we have it growing along our fence line along with several other plants. When planting each year move to a new section that has not grown garlic or onions before to help prevent disease and reduce soil depletion. This is a great option for growing in a shallow raised garden bed.
When prepping your soil for planting garlic clear stones and debris from the top 6 inches of soil. Mix in plenty of fresh compost or fertilizer to help your garlic grow. The better quality soil you have the better your harvest will be.
Garlic can be planted in the fall before the ground freezes over for the easiest planting. If you miss this opportunity you can plant garlic in early spring as soon as the soil thaws enough to work with when you plant onions for the season.
Plant each clove of garlic 4-6 inches apart with the root side down. If you take advantage of fall planting for a thick layer of mulch up to 6 inches to help the garlic survive the long cold wither.
How to Harvest Garlic
Garlic can be harvested mid-July to early August when the leaves of the plant turn brown and the stalks fall over to the ground.
Gently dig up the garlic bulbs and allow to try in a cool dark area with good airflow laid out on a layer of newspaper. The curing process will take 2-3 weeks so choose an area that will be out of the way such as in a shed or closet.
For easy storage braide the stalks of the garlic together and hang for regular use through the winter. Add garlic to your soups, stews, and savory cast iron skillet dishes to ward off the cold and flu all winter long.