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Grow Your Own Garlic

Varieties of garlic from all over the world are available. Explore! Plant the cloves this fall, and you will be enjoying fresh and zesty garlic in your meals next summer.

Garlic bulbs
Plant garlic this fall and enjoy delicious meals next summer.

The weather is cooling down and frost is approaching. Now is not the time to rest. There will be plenty of time for resting during the long winter.

Now is the time to plant garlic! It will 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.

Numerous seed companies offer garlic cloves. It’s important to order your cloves as soon as possible. Supplies of the finest varieties are limited and in high demand.

There are many wonderful hardneck types available from around the world. There are robust varieties from Germany and Spain, bold flavors from the Middle East, crisp flavors from Siberia, and mild varieties from Vietnam. The bulbs come in an attractive array of solids and stripes in shades of pearl white to royal purple.

Garlic scapes
Garlic scapes are mild in flavor and taste great in stir fries.
Garlic 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.

Bulbs are planted soon after the first hard frost, which is usually in late September or early October.

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 (scapes) can be harvested in June. 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. Much of this information was originally published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, August 11, 2014. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: Felix; danbruell.

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