Garlic has long been used for its medicinal qualities as well as for its pungent taste and distinct flavor. Long known as a “poor man’s medicine” this hearty plant was available for the masses during the Roman empire and was the used to help improve the immune system and ward off disease. Today, potent garlic is often condensed and sold in tablets, yet there is no substitute for the real thing. If you want to have garlic on hand for health or cooking purposes, why not grow your own? Its relatively easy and you can even grow garlic from cloves you have on-hand at home.
How to grow garlic from a clove
Garlic likes to be planted in the autumn (October through November) and harvested in the summer (around June). If you are growing garlic outdoors, check your planting season to know when the optimal timing.
Fresh home-grown garlic is simply the superior to store bought cloves. While a farmer’s market may supply you with fine goods, growing garlic at home is simple.
First, from a fresh head of garlic, identify the robust looking cloves, the kind that you would select to cook with. Gently break apart the head and retrieve the cloves without damaging or puncturing the outside, the cloves need to be fully intact. For every clove you plant, you’ll gain an entire garlic head in result. Plan your garden according to the vegetable yields you want. Next, submerge the cloves in water for several minutes (this is optional.)
Place the individual clove about 3 inches (7.62 cm) into the ground lengthwise with the tip, or “pointy” side up and the fuller side down. The full side is where the root with come out. The garlic cloves should be spaced from 3-6 inches apart. Cover the hole with a rich compost. Add straw or a light mulch to cover the garlic during the wintertime as the bulbs lie dormant.
When spring arrives the garlic shoots will emerge. To concentrate the sun’s energy into the garlic bulb, you can cut the tops of the shoots and force more concentrated growth into the bulb. This is optional.
Harvest on time. If you harvest your garlic too early, the head and its cloves will be premature, too late and the heads will be splitting within themselves and subpar for cooking or even medicinal use.
So why not save a few of those heirloom garlic varieties for your own garden and grow this great root from a clove right at home?