Is garlic a staple in the recipes you cook? Are you concerned about the origin of your produce and how it is grown? You may enjoy growing your own garlic. Easy to grow and simple to store, once you grow your own, you will never have to buy garlic from a store again.
Plant in Fall
For the biggest garlic heads, always plant in fall, prior to the first freeze. Choose a sunny area that does not receive poor winter drainage. Amend our Illinois clay soil with plenty of compost, leaf mulch, or TGP garden mix.
Break the bulb apart and plant individual, unpeeled cloves 2″-3” deep, root side down, spaced 4″-6″ apart in rows 1.5″ to 2″ apart. Cover with 1″-2″ of soil. Planting with compost and Bio-Tone will fertilize the soil. Apply 3” mulch of straw, shredded leaves, or hay to protect against winter moisture, frost heaving, and weeds..
Care in Spring
Fertilize as soon as leaves emerge and again 3-4 weeks later. Keep the soil evenly moist, not allowing it to dry out during active growth. Hardneck varieties will send up a center stiffer scape a few weeks before harvest. Clip these stalks after they have emerged and before they curl. Garlic scapes are edible. Chop and cook with soup, stew, or baked meats.
Summer to Harvest
When the bottom leaves of the plant have yellowed, and there are only 5-6 green leaves remaining, it is time to get the shovel and dig up your garlic. Harvesting when the ground is dry reduces the spread of fungal problems. Pull carefully from the soil, gently shaking off the excess soil to not bruise the garlic head.
To dry and cure your garlic, keep it out of the sun in a well ventilated, dry place, preferably between 45-55 F. Leave the roots and leaves attached, and hang it or store in net sacks for air ventilation. Drying can take 3-8 weeks depending on the humidity. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator or it will sprout. Save your best and biggest bulb for the following fall planting season!
Our garlic bulbs are sourced locally and are $2.99 per head. Mix and match varieties! $7.99 for 3 heads. We have 3 hardneck varieties — German Red, Duganski, and Music as well as 1 softneck variety — Nootka Rose. You can eat these seed garlic heads if you’re curious about the differences in their flavors. Cook up one of the cloves to sample and then plant the rest!
A Favorite Recipe
Basil Butter Garlic Bread
- 1 oz butter
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch basil leaves (generous handful)
- 1 bunch parsley (use 1/3 the amount of basil)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 whole green onion
- 2 pinches salt to taste
- 1 pinch pepper to taste
- 1 loaf Ciabatta, French, or Italian Bread
- 1 ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Combine all the ingredients except the bread and cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Cut the loaf of bread lengthwise and spread the basil butter on both halves. Put the halves together and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Remove the bread, separate the halves and load them up with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 500° or put under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbles, and starts to get brown.