The great garlic harvest is about to begin

If you planted garlic in the fall, it should be ready to harvest right now. The mature scapes on hardneck varieties signal the bulbs are ready in my garden.

garlic-scape-blogI haven’t had the best luck growing garlic in my garden, even though most gardeners says there’s nothing to it; just plant it and it will grow.

But that technique didn’t work for me and I was always disappointed with the size of my garlic bulbs at harvest time.

So last fall I decided I’d put some real effort into it to see if I could improve my yield. I researched websites and then attended the Garlic Festival at Tagawa Garden Center to learn every possible best practice for growing garlic. Then I went to work in my garden.

Because soil is the most important part of growing good-sized bulbs, I really worked at improving drainage and fertility. I added compost and top-dressed with fertilizer when I planted.

I bought both the hardneck and softneck varieties of seed garlic, specially selected to do well in our climate and soils. Planting was timed to allow for about 4-6 weeks of growing before the first hard freeze and I planted only the biggest and best seed cloves. A thick layer of mulch was added to the bed.

Throughout the winter I made sure to add moisture to the garden so the garlic wouldn’t dry out. In spring I added liquid fertilizer and kept the bed weeded.

Just last week I noticed the foliage on the garlic plants is almost dry and the central stalkĀ on the hardneck garlic varieties (called the scape) has straightened out, signalling it’s time to harvest my crop.

I’ll be sure to let you know if my garlic-growing efforts paid off.


 

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