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Mid October is garlic planting time!  I planted last year for the first time and it was the easiest thing in the world!  It’s sort of like planting tulips.  You put the bulbs in the ground in the fall and in the spring they shoot out of the ground.  By late summer, you harvest and let dry.  Seriously, the simplest thing I planted this year!

Here’s the how to…

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Choose an area in your garden that is very sunny.  Garlic likes a lot of sun.  Amend the soil by adding compost and then work it into the ground by breaking up the soil and making it nice and loose.  We just used a little hand tiller and worked in some compost from our compost pile, but you could add any kind of compost/manure mix from Home Depot/Lowes or a local garden center.  Garlic likes rich soil, so don’t skip this step.

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Buy some organic garlic.  I like to buy it locally at the farmer’s market but you could just as easily grab some from the grocery store.  Take it apart and use the largest cloves, as those will give you the best bulbs.

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Plant the cloves 2″ deep, and 5″ apart, with the pointy end up.  I like to put them out on the soil like this first to make sure my spacing is right and then poke them in.  After you plant them, cover the bed with about 6″ of hay or mulched leaves, water, and let it go until after the snow melts!  In the late spring you will see a curly stem with a flower bud appear on the top of your garlic greens.  These are called garlic scapes and you remove them in order to force more nutrients to the bulb.  They are a delicious mild garlicy addition to your spring meals.  Here’s what they look like.

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And here’s what you’ll be able to harvest next summer!

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