Yard & Garden Report


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Explore the world of garlic

Fascinating varieties from all over the world are available. Order bulbs now and plant this fall.

Garlic bulbsThis is a great time of year. We’re enjoying fresh beans from the garden and the first tomatoes are ripening. We’re not even tired of zucchini yet.

If you want to take your garden to the next level, think about growing garlic. It can add amazing flavors to your meals next summer.

Fall is the time to plant garlic and NOW is the time to order your bulbs. If you wait until September to look for bulbs, some of the best varieties will not be available. 

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

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 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.

Garlic scapesBulbs 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. 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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