How to Grow Garlic

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Botanical name: Allium sativum Plant type: Vegetable Sun exposure: Full Sun Soil type: Loamy Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral. Original image from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

You don’t need a garden to grow garlic. The bulbs grow well when planted in wide, deep containers that are set in a nice sunny spot.

Choosing a Garlic Variety

There are tons of garlic varieties to choose from and they are divided into two basic categories: hardneck types, which have a hard central stock with a single layer of cloves around it, and softneck types, which have swirling layers of cloves and no defined neck. I prefer hardneck varieties because they produce a flower bud called a scape in late spring. Scapes have a delicious mild garlicky flavor and taste amazing in pesto. In theory, you could plant garlic purchased from the grocery store, but it is often treated to prevent it from sprouting. For the best results and a more interesting array of varieties, buy garlic that was grown locally at a farmer’s market or purchase bulbs at a nursery.

Choosing Containers

Garlic has fairly shallow roots, but it is important to make sure they have plenty of room to stretch out in the soil. Choose a pot that is at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Half barrels and wooden crates work well, but you certainly do not need to buy a container for your garlic. The large black plastic containers that trees come in are a great choice, as are contractor buckets. Whatever container you use, make sure that it has drainage holes in the bottom. Place the container in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of bright, direct sunlight each day. Continue reading “How to Grow Garlic”