. . .Summer bounty at the Penticton Farmers Market
Planting and growing garlic isn’t difficult; however, attention to a few critical details will help ensure a good harvest. You can find lots of info online of course, but the best tips I’ve ever had on growing garlic were learned at Brenda Lende’s course at C.URB last year. I planned to attend this year’s again but couldn’t make it. (Maybe you were there?)
Here are the main points:
Softneck garlic heads (thin necked varieties) store longer than hardneck (thick neck) types. Plant your own cloves or buy seed. Garlic bought in the grocery store, which has been shipped from afar (i.e. China) is often irradiated and will not sprout, so avoid those for planting.
Mix compost into your soil a week or two ahead of planting.
Separate the garlic heads into individual cloves, being careful not to break or remove the papery skin from each clove.
Plant individual cloves a foot apart, or in a 10” grid, staggered. When garlic cloves are planted too closely, they will stop growing as soon as their roots touch the next plant, so give them lots of space!
Pointy end up! (That’s the end of the clove that sprouts to form leaves . . .)
Plant 2 inches deep near frost, or 1 inch deep earlier, when the soil is warmer. Mid to late October works well in the Okanagan.
Put one teaspoon of bone meal in each planting hole. Fill hole with soil and cover your new garlic patch with straw or leaves. Water lightly.
In the spring, keep the patch weeded and watered.
I’ve grown garlic in past years, but this summer’s crop had the biggest heads ever after following the above planting instructions!