• garlic2Garlic has been a home remedy for hundreds of years, is a natural insect repellent in the garden, and is one of the most widely used flavors in cooking; it is also fairly simple to grow. There are three main varieties of garlic: Hardneck, Softneck, and Elephant.

    At St. Matthews Feed & Seed, our garlic is GMO FREE.

    Varieties

    Hardneck garlic is more suitable to a cold winter climate than softneck, and it produces curled scapes (edible flower stalks) in the spring. St. Matthews Feed & Seed carries two Porcelain Types (Music, and German Extra Hardy), and one Purple Stripe Type (Chesnok).

    Softneck garlic is more suited for mild winters to Zone 5. Though most softneck varieties do not grow scapes, their long soft stalks are perfect for braiding— a decorative way to store your garlic. St. Matthews Feed & Seed carries one variety of softneck (California).

    Elephant garlic is more closely related to leeks. Like softneck, elephant is winter hardy to Zone 5 with a deep winter mulch. Elephant garlic produces large, mild-flavored bulbs containing 4-6 cloves.

    Planting

    When?

    To grow bigger, better garlic bulbs, you should plant in the fall when the soil is cool, though you can also plant in the late winter when the soil thaws. (Bulbs planted in late winter, early spring will produce smaller bulbs and will be harvested later in the summer.)

    Where?

    Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil, as garlic likes to grow in slightly dry soil. It is recommended that the soil be loosened to 12” deep, and amended with 1” of compost because it prefers nitrogen-rich soil.

    How?

    Separate cloves from the garlic bulb, and plant (pointed ends up) 4” deep and 6” apart. Mulch with 3”-5” of organic matter like hay or leaves.

    Harvesting

    Your garlic should be ready to pull by early to midsummer, or later depending on when you plant. When the tops turn brown and fall over it is time to harvest.
    Gently pull up new bulbs (so as not to bruise) using a digging fork, pitch fork, or shovel.

    Hang or lay to dry in a warm, airy spot. After 1 week, clip roots to ½” long. After 2 weeks, clip stems of hardnecks, or braid softnecks. As the bulbs dry, the flavor will increase.

    *Hints:

    • If yellowing occurs in the spring add nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

    • Pinch off any flowers that develop to allow the plant’s energy to go towards forming the bulb.