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Garlic Growing this Fall

The history of garlic involves many ancient cultures with an extensive range of uses including medicinal, spiritual, and culinary. Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all used garlic to prevent diseases, and in many cultures, garlic was believed to repel evil and vampires.

Today, China grows much of the garlic used worldwide, with India's production on the rise. 90% of garlic grown in the United States is grown in California. That said, garlic is really fun to grow on your own, and the good news is that it's really easy!

Garlic is a bulb, and for each clove of garlic you plant, a new head of garlic will grow.  In New England, planting garlic in the fall enables it to establish its roots, "sleep" during the cold months, and then get an early start at the first signs of spring.

Selecting Garlic
Since garlic sold in supermarkets is generally treated with a chemical to prevent it from sprouting, you will need to find garlic that has not been treated. Pick up some garlic at our October 16 event (limited availability), or check for garlic at local farmers' markets. Garlic usually has about 6 cloves per head.

Step by Step
Before planting, mix in 2 inches of compost to your soil to increase fertility.
Divide the garlic bulb/head into individual cloves and try your best to keep the skin in place.
Fit 6 (for larger heads) or 9 (for smaller heads) garlic cloves per square foot in your raised bed.
Using fingers or a hand shovel, dig holes about 2 inches deep (or about double the height of the clove).
Plant each clove with the root side down, and the pointy tip facing the sky. Cover.
Spread a 3 inch layer of mulch (compacted leaves or straw) over the square(s) you plant. This helps keep soil moist and the garlic warm for winter.
For the first month after planting, keep the planted garlic well watered to help it establish its roots.
Spring Time
Once the weather starts to warm up, green sprouts will emerge from the ground. This growth will eventually become at least a foot tall. While the green tops are growing, it is important to keep garlic well watered. However, once you notice that the leaves are turning yellow (in the summer months), avoid watering to prevent bulbs from rotting. We will guide you with the harvest of your garlic in next season's newsletters and on future blogs!

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