Need to grow garlic? With a little patience and a few bulbs, you can build up a sizable crop.

Hardneck garlic has thrived for millennia in the northern hemisphere in a wide range of soil conditions and climates. So if I can grow garlic as a wannabe farmer with only a single squash as my first harvest, so can you. With a little patience and a few bulbs, you can build up a sizable crop. The cloves are broken off of the bulb and planted in the fall. The cold of winter, also known as vernalization, prompts the clove to break open after a period of dormancy. The mature plant is harvested the following year, in late July. Here is a thumbnail sketch on growing garlic, good for both a tiny patch with a single clove or a field with up to five hundred plants. Each step, from planting to weeding and harvesting, is done by hand.

Steps on How to Grow Garlic:

  • Inspect and prepare your soil
  • Plant cloves in the fall
  • Mulch for winter
  • Spring chores
  • Summer harvest and curing

How to Grow Garlic in Different Soil Condition

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All soil is made up of finely ground rock particles, created over millions of years, plus living and dead organic matter. It is the size of the particles— from the large particles of sand to the very fine ones found in clay—as well as the presence of minerals and organic matter, that characterizes each soil type. Each type presents specific advantages and disadvantages for growing vegetables, including garlic.

Whether the soil is high in clay, silt or sand, the addition of compost (which contains organic matter) will improve the soil condition for growing  garlic. Before planting, add two inches (five centimetres) of manure or other composted material, mixed into the soil with a shovel or garden fork (an implement with four tines.) Compost adds nutrients and organisms important to your soil ecosystem. It also  retains moisture, especially important for sandy soil. This is a good excuse to start composting your kitchen waste if you’re not already. Consider raised beds if the soil is heavy, in order to facilitate drainage.

Learn different ways to grow garlic from top experts across the country at the 8th Annual Toronto Garlic Festival on Sunday, September 16, 2018, 9am to 5pm at Artscape Wychwood Barns – 601 Christie Street at St Clair Ave West, Toronto. Admission is only $5!