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Caring for Garlic Plants: Watering, Fertilizing, Weeding

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Garlic is a versatile herb that is easy to grow and maintain, making it an excellent addition to any home garden. This article will discuss caring for garlic plants, including watering, fertilizing, and weeding garlic.

Planting Garlic

Select healthy garlic cloves or elephant garlic bulbs from a reputable source to grow garlic. Depending on your climate, planting cloves should be done in the fall or early spring. Plant garlic cloves about 2 inches deep, pointed end up, and 6 inches apart. Garlic prefers well-draining soil, so test your garden soil pH before planting.

Watering Garlic Plants

Garlic plants need consistent moisture to thrive. Watering should be done deeply and infrequently to ensure the roots receive all nutrients. In warm climates, garlic plants may need to be watered every two to three days. In cooler climates, watering can be done once a week. Garlic prefers soil that is moist but not waterlogged. Drip irrigation is an excellent method for watering garlic plants.

Fertilizing and Weeding Garlic Beds

Fertilizing and weeding garlic beds are essential for healthy growth and bulb development. Weeds compete with garlic plants for water and nutrients, so keeping the beds weed-free is crucial. Straw mulch can suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil. Use organic fertilizers such as blood meal, bone meal, or pelleted chicken manure at the beginning and halfway through the growing season.

Organic fertilizers are preferred for home gardens, as commercial garlic is usually heavily fertilized. A soil test can help determine the best fertilizer to use. Over-fertilization should be avoided, as it can result in smaller bulbs. Adding well-rotted manure can also improve soil structure and retain moisture.

Growing and Harvesting Garlic

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic varieties are excellent for growing in cold climates. They produce garlic scapes, which are flowering stalks that can be used in stir-fries and other dishes. Plant garlic cloves in the fall to grow hardnecks, look forward to a summer-long reward when harvesting your bulbs! As mid-summer approaches, you’ll notice these delicious vegetables’ swelling. By late summer or early fall, they’re ready for reaping and can be stored until next season’s planting.

As the garlic leaves turn yellow, harvesting time is a good indication! Be careful when you dig them up not to harm the bulbs. Afterward, leave them somewhere with plenty of air circulation until adequately dried. After everything is said and done, you can braid their stems and leaves together, making an attractive garland.

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic is best for warmer regions and can last longer than its hardneck counterpart. Plant cloves in late winter or early spring to begin cultivating softneck garlic, and soon you will be ready to harvest by mid-to-late summer as leaves turn yellowish brown. Gently remove the plants from their soil beds and let them dry on a well-aerated surface until fully dried up; this way, they can remain fresh for about four months if kept in a cool, dry place.

Using Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic offers an intense, bold flavor that makes cooking truly enjoyable. Incorporate the scapes into stir-fries, pesto, and other dishes to add a zesty kick. The bulbs of hardneck garlic can be roasted for a savory treat or chopped up and added to soups and sauces for an explosion of flavor in any meal!

Using Softneck Garlic

When you’re looking for a delicate garlicky flavor, softneck garlic is the way to go. Its subtle taste makes it ideal for salads and dressings, marinades, roasted vegetables or stir-fries, and sauces and dips. These bulbs can be mashed up quickly – perfect if you need something quick! Make sure to incorporate this into your cooking repertoire today; it’s guaranteed to take whatever dish you make next up a notch!

Mild Garlic Flavor

If you prefer a more subtle garlic taste, utilize softneck varieties when cooking. These have been specially cultivated for regions with warmer winters and provide a mild flavor to your food. In contrast, hardnecks are perfect for cold climates and boast an intense, full-bodied taste that works perfectly in stir-fries or pesto dishes. Furthermore, the bulbs can be roasted whole or minced/sliced to add flair to soups and sauces!

Conclusion

Garlic is an easy-to-grow herb that provides many health benefits and adds flavor to various dishes. Following these tips on planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding, growing, and harvesting garlic, you can grow healthy garlic plants and enjoy fragrant bulbs in your cooking. Whether a beginner or an experienced gardener, these tips can help you get the most out of your garlic plants, especially if you grow hardneck garlic varieties.

References:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/garlic/feeding-garlic-plants.htm

https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/get-your-garlic-primer-planting-growing-and-harvesting

https://www.almanac.com/plant/garlic

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