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Haddonfield Community Gardens

Growing Garlic

To be honest, I can’t remember how I became interested in growing garlic. I do remember a visit to the East Stroudsburg garlic festival sometime during my misspent youth and a dish of garlic ice cream that wasn’t as bad as it sounds. I also recall the folks I met that day who evidenced a religious zeal about these little bulbs that I found compelling. I left with a fist full of leaflets that ended up in my gardening library for future reference.

For those of you who would like to go beyond the adequate, but bland, product you can find in the produce section of the supermarket let me recommend growing your own garlic. It’s easy, tasty and has the added benefit of keeping those pesky vampires away. There are about a bazillion varieties of garlic divided into two basic camps: hard neck and soft neck. Soft neck varieties are somewhat milder tasting, keep longer and can be fashioned into those cool braids…very Martha Stewart. The hard neck varieties can be spicy, Bordering on hot, and have a ton of flavor. They don’t keep as well an, sadly, can’t be braided. I have had great success ordering garlic on line.

Mid September is the time to order your bulbs and get a piece of your plot ready to plant by Columbus Day. I confess, I have lingered until Thanksgiving to plant my garlic and my crop has turned out just fine. I mulch heavily with shredded leaves. This amends the soil and keeps the weeds…I hate weeding… from germinating in the spring. In the spring your garlic will grow tall and lush.

Harvest at the end of June or early July when the outer leaves turn brown and the plant looks finished. I usually try to harvest during a dry spell to facilitate storage. Once out of the ground, just brush off the dirt and store in a cool, dry place. I usually select a number of large healthy bulbs as “seed stock” for the following year. Now wasn’t that easy?

For a more in depth discussion along with some tips that may help you decide what type of garlic you might like to try I recommend the following web site: www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/growing.htm

John Whitney, Plot 34