Garlic is now in stock at Bath Garden Center, and perfect planting weather is just around the corner! Our stock is limited, so if you want options, now is the time to shop! We have also put together a guide to planting garlic here in Northern Colorado, so if you have never grown your own garlic or need a little refresher, read on!
Different Types of Garlic
First of all, know that there are three types of garlic: softneck, hardneck and elephant. Depending on where you live, one variety may grow better than another. Learn more about the different varieties below!
Hardneck Garlic Varieties
As the name suggests, hardneck varieties do better in harsh, northern climates like Colorado.
Softneck Garlic Varieties
Softneck varieties have a longer shelf life and are what you’re used to seeing in chain grocery stores. While they have a longer shelf life, they grow better in more mild climates.
Elephant Garlic Varieties
Elephant Garlic variety is the biggest, as you may have guessed by the name. While being the largest variety of garlic, it has the most mild flavor.
How to Plant and Grow Your Own Garlic
When to Plant Your Garlic
Plant garlic before the first hard freeze. In Northern Colorado, it is generally recommended to have your garlic in the ground around October 1st, though that is not a hard and fast deadline. Garlic needs a period of cold weather for 4-8 weeks, which is why it is often planted just before winter. Planting near the beginning of October will give the cloves a chance to develop roots, and then in early spring they will begin to grow foliage as the ground begins to warm.
How to Plant Your Garlic
Amend the soil with organic compost so the soil remains un-compacted throughout the winter and following summer. This is important so that the garlic will be able to penetrate the soil when it begins to produce foliage in the spring.
Break the bulb into cloves and plant six inches apart in rows. Space your rows eight inches apart to give your garlic enough room to grow. Plant your cloves of garlic 1-2 inches deep and lightly pat the soil down around the area. Make sure to plant your garlic cloves pointy end up! If you examine your clove, you will be able to see the blunt end where the roots will develop and the pointy end where the foliage will grow.
Every different variety may have slightly different planting instructions, so read what is on your package to make sure that you have the proper spacing for your variety of choice!
How to Water Your Garlic
If the ground is dry when you plant your garlic cloves, give them a light watering after planting. You can also always soak the area you intend to plant a day before to make sure the ground is saturated and ready for planting. Winter watering may be necessary if it is a light winter in terms of snow. This can be difficult to judge as there is no visible foliage to assess. A good way to know if you should winter water is if there is no snow on the ground and if the weather is above 40 degrees. Watering under these conditions will make sure your garlic gets the moisture it needs without turning it into an ice cube. If the weather is warm but there is still snow on the ground, your garlic is getting the water it needs and does not need additional watering.
When to Harvest Your Garlic
Come spring, you will start to see a bit of green push its way up through the dirt. This bit of green will turn into stalks of green foliage ranging anywhere from 5-25 inches tall. It may be hard to wait all spring and through the summer, but garlic is generally not ready to be harvested until fall. You will know your garlic is ready to harvest after the green tops have flowered. Once the flower dies, you have around two weeks to harvest.
Fun Fact About Harvesting Garlic
As your garlic continues to grow and mature in your garden, you will begin to notice a stalk growing from the bulb amidst all the other foliage of the plant. This stalk, called a scape, will eventually bloom once your garlic plant reaches maturity. What many people don't know is that inside the "bud" at the end of this stalk is a sort of "mini" garlic clove that is packed full of flavor. Harvest your scapes before they bloom for some wonderfully pungent, early-season garlic!