Garlic is commonly used as a flavoring for food, as a condiment, and for medicinal purposes.
October is a good time to plant garlic. Choose an area with full sun and good drainage. Before planting, fertilize the area and incorporate it into the area. Once soil is prepared, separate individual cloves from the main garlic bulb and plant cloves 3-5 inches apart with points up and cover to a depth of 1-2 inches. Do not divide the bulb into cloves before you are ready to plant. Leave skin on the clove.
Water thoroughly after planting and then mulch with 4-6 inches of seed free straw. This helps to moderate soil temperature in winter and to combat weed growth. The cloves may sprout after becoming established, but do not let that alarm you.
Garlic (Allium sativum) -Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Growth will ramp up in early spring. Fertilize in May and be sure the planting is receiving enough moisture. To grow well, the plant requires one inch of water per week. As flower shoots (scapes) form in late spring, be sure to cut them off. If allowed to mature to seed, they can reduce bulb size.
Bulbs are ready for harvest when the tops begin to yellow, usually in mid-summer. Do not wait until the leaves are completely brown to harvest. Be sure to dig the bulbs rather than pulling them. Remove excess dirt but do not wash the bulbs.
To dry bulbs, place on a screen tray in a cool, well-ventilated and dark place. Curing can take four to six weeks. Mature bulbs can keep for months if stored in cool, dry, dark areas.
Submitted by Amanda Sears, Agent for Horticulture, Madison Co. Cooperative Extension Service