Planting Garlic

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One of my favorite things in the world is garlic. People say that bacon makes everything better, and although that may be true, and I do love my bacon, I could argue that garlic should have the right to that statement. It’s just so delicious, healthy and amazing and so much fun to grow! Fun in the sense that it’s just about the last thing that you plant at the end of the year, and one of the first things that you harvest in the spring. And if you plant hard-necks like we did, you will be rewarded even earlier with garlic scapes, a tender springtime treat like no other. 

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We planted three varieties this year, all hard-necks. What are hard-necks? Well, there are two main types of garlic, hard-neck and soft-neck. The soft-neck varieties is what you see in the grocery store and is almost always grown in China. It consist of many cloves that get smaller and smaller the closer you get to the center. It is pretty decent in flavor, but the most important factor with soft-neck, is it last a really long time, hence it being the one you see at your local Ingles, Kroger, Giant.....insert local grocery store chain here..... 

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Hard-neck garlic has fewer cloves all set around a center stalk, hence the name. The center stalk is the flower stalk, and this will shoot up in early spring and give you scapes. These need to be removed otherwise the plant will flower and not grow a large bulb, and that goodness for that, as pickled garlic scapes are amazing, not to mention garlic scape pesto! 


 Hard-necks are much more flavorful garlics, some with huge cloves, yet they don’t last nor travel as well as the soft-neck varieties, so you will find these at your area’s farmers markets or specialty shops. 

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We planted Romanian Red, Metechi and Persian Star garlic this year and if my calculations are correct, we should have about 160 plants, which is a nice amount of garlic! We got whole heads of seed garlic that I broke apart into cloves. We prepped the area they were to be planted in by digging two trenches and filling them with mushroom compost and composted chicken manure, this was all worked in together. The garlic cloves were planted about 4 inches apart in two rows set at 18 inches apart, this will give them ample space to grow in. The cloves were covered with soil and then a thick layer of straw to keep them wet and protected over the winter, and to create a natural weed barrier when they start growing in the spring. Now we wait.........

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