sprouting garlic
PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID BISHOP INC/GETTY

The Trick To Planting Healthy Garlic Is...

Everything depends on when you plant it, and what you do to it first.

September 30, 2015

Fall is the best time to plant plump garlic cloves in your garden. Doing so allows them to put out a generous tuft of roots over the winter, and ensures maximum harvests next summer. But you can't just plop them in the ground—follow these steps for a healthy crop:

Related: The Best Way To Grow Garlic

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1. Soak The Cloves

soaking garlic
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRISTA NEU

Break a garlic bulb apart into individual cloves, being careful to keep the papery skins covering each clove intact. Then fill a quart jar with water and mix in 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid seaweed (available at your local garden store). Soak the cloves in this mixture for 2 hours prior to planting to prevent fungal disease and encourage vigorous growth.

 

2. Place In Furrows

planting garlic
PHOTOGRAPH BY YURIS/GETTY

In the meantime, prepare your bed for planting. Garlic grows best in rich, well-drained soil that is free of weeds. Dig a furrow about 3 inches deep. Place the presoaked cloves into the furrow, spacing them 6 to 8 inches apart. Be sure the flat root end is down and the pointy end is up.

 

3. Cover

garlic shoots
PHOTOGRAPH BY GORGOTS/GETTY

Cover the cloves with 2 inches of soil and side-dress the furrow with compost or scratch in granulated organic fertilizer. Water the bed in well and cover it with 6 to 8 inches of straw mulch. You should see shoots poking through the mulch in 4 to 6 weeks. The garlic stops growing in the winter months and resumes in spring.

For more details, watch our video:

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