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Time to plant garlic

Plant garlic now and enjoy some amazing meals next summer!

Garlic clovesMost gardens in North Dakota have been struck by frost. The natural tendency for gardeners may be to slow down, but there is still some great gardening weather ahead of us!

Think about growing garlic. It can add amazing flavors to your meals next summer.

Garlic types include hardneck, softneck and elephant. Hardneck types are hardiest and most suitable for us in North Dakota.

Get your cloves from a local garden center or an online seed company. There are robust varieties from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The bulbs come in an attractive array of colors from pearl white to royal purple.

Garlic scapesGarlic grows best in a rich, well-drained soil. Add an inch of compost to the site and up to 3 pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet. Work this into the soil.

Separate cloves from the bulbs a day before planting. Set cloves upright in the furrow, 4–6 inches apart and 2 inches deep. Space rows 18–30 inches apart.

Water deeply to activate the bulbs. The bulbs will push out roots and underground shoots this fall. Mulch with 4 inches of straw in November. This straw will insulate the soil and protect the sprouted bulbs.

The flower buds, called scapes, can be harvested in June (see bottom photo). They are mild in flavor and great in stir fries.

Harvest the bulbs in July. Then get ready for some of the most delicious meals you have ever eaten!

Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Felix and danbruell.

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