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Fruit and Vegetable Gardening A-Z: Garlic

A Guide to Gardening, Growing and Harvesting Edibles
  -- By Jenny Sigler, SparkPeople Contributor
Known as the “stinking rose,” garlic has countless health and medicinal benefits. A member of the allium family, it's easy to grow and takes up little space in the garden.

Hardiness Zones:
7-10 (Find your hardiness zone.)

When to Plant:
For soft-neck varieties, simply go to the grocery store and purchase a head of garlic. Pop a clove off the outside of the garlic head and plant it, pointed end up, in the ground, 1 inch deep. Plant garlic cloves in late fall (between mid-October and early November) for a late summer harvest. If you are in the south, plant them in early spring (for an early fall harvest).

Conditions:
Till the planting area well and work in plenty of organic material. Garlic will not thrive in heavy soils so be sure the ground is well aerated.

Space Needed:
Space plants 6 inches apart with 12 inches between rows.

Maintenance:
Garlic has a very long growing season. If you are in an area prone to harsh winters, cover the area with several inches of straw. Be sure to maintain a weed-free bed. Water the bulbs generously, but avoid waterlogged roots.

When to Harvest:
Soft neck garlic will be ready for harvest in mid to late summer (if you planted in the fall) or in early fall if you planted it in spring. You will know when garlic is ready when the leaves turn yellow and then brown. Remove heads from the ground and leave them outdoors to dry on top of the soil for several days, then bring indoors to store in a cool, dry place.

Average Yield:
Each garlic clove will produce a head of garlic that weighs up to half a pound.

Continuous Yield:
No

Life Cycle:
Annual

Difficulty Rating (1-5):
1