Growing Garlic in Raised Beds
Last year I grew my garlic in raised beds and they were the best garlic I have every grown. Not that could be because the raised beds saved them.
We had an unusually wet summer last year and many of my fellow gardeners had trouble with their garlic not growing or becoming molding and rotting.
We are in the process of starting a new garden and in an area where the Moose and Deer like to see what’s on the menu, so we have fenced and area in where the garden and greenhouse is and the Ducks roam around while we are home to watch them.
Because the Ducks just love fresh newly green anything, it was imperative to raise the beds and wrap them with wire so the Ducks would not eat everything before it grew. This is where the raised beds for the garlic came in, and it looks like it saved us.
I built the beds from 1 x 6 cedar and made beds that were about eight feet long and 12 inches high.
How to Grow Garlic
The garlic was planted in early October. The garlic bulb was broke down and each glove was planted four inches deep in the soil in rows of about sixteen inches apart. The garlic cloves were planted in those rows every five to six inches apart.
The garlic bed is then left until the ground becomes frozen, once if is frozen I put a few inches of wood chips on top of the beds. You can use straw or leaves as well.
The mulch helps to keep the cloves insulated and stops them from heaving up when the ground begins to thaw.
When spring comes the garlic will begin to grow under the mulch, you should see the shoots coming up in late April or early May. When my garlic shoots were about two inches above the mulch, I removed some of it.
Garlic is really quite easy to grow and does not require much maintenance in any way. They don’t need a lot of water to grow unless it is a really super dry summer, then water them once in awhile.
My favorite is when the garlic scapes come up. I cut them up and freeze them to be added to soaps in the winter. These scapes taste like a cross between the garlic itself and green onions.
The scapes that grow need to be cut off when they get to about six inches in height. This is done so that the garlic bulb gets all it needs to continue to grow producing an nice bulb.
The garlic is usually ready to pick some time in July. You will know when it is ready by the leaves. Once all the leaves on the garlic have died with the exception of about five or six it’s time to pull the garlic from the ground.
Be careful when pulling the garlic plant out I try to loosen around it with my little hand shovel first. Then pull the plant. I’ve used the big shovel before and ended up slicing the garlic so lesson learned.
The garlic will now have to be dried. I do this by putting ten to fifteen garlic together in a bunch, tying them together and hanging them in a dry place . This usually takes about 4 weeks but can take as little as two weeks.
To know if your garlic is dried, take the stem and cut it, if there is no moisture then it is cured.
Once your garlic is dried it should be stored in a dry place away from sunlight. Garlic will keep for up to six months if it is stored properly.