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How to Grow Garlic

October and November are great months in which to plant garlic. Garlic is fun and very easy to grow.

At Sal's, you will find short growing season garlic which is also a soft neck garlic. This is because our winters are mild and, well, short. Besides the difference in growing time, short growing season garlic, has a different taste than long neck. There are several gardeners who are successful with long neck garlic in South Carolina, but I find the soft neck to be easier to grow.

In order to plant garlic, you have to separate the cloves. Have you ever peeled garlic? If you have, you will know that the bulb is made up of several parts, or cloves. Each clove will make a bulb.

Your garden bed will need to be “fluffy”. The soil needs to be loose and loamy in order to grow garlic successfully. You may also grow garlic in pots. Garlic needs full sun.

Plant your bulbs about an inch and a half deep and around five inches apart.

Around spring time, and maybe before due to our inconsistent temperatures, you will see green shoots emerging. The straight shoots are fine, however cut off the curly shoots. You don't want your plant to do what we call is “going to seed.” If you leave the curly shoots, then the plants energy will go into making garlic seeds, and not your garlic bulb.

Harvesting garlic is a little tricky in South Carolina, because of- yes you guessed it- our inconsistent temperatures. Ideally, you need to harvest when the bottom shoots begin to start turning yellow. This usually starts when our temperatures reach eighty degrees, in the spring.

If you plant in November, and by December your leaves start turning yellow, leave them in the ground and wait.

In order to decide whether or not your garlic is ready to harvest, just use my favorite method- dig a few up and check.

Make sure you dig, don't just pull them up. Pulling them up will not work.

Garlic is pretty easy and fun to grow. I love garlic in just about every dish. Eating extra garlic is also thought to keep the mosquitoes at bay as well as the vampires. Try your hand at garlic this season, and as always- Get Growing South Carolina. Don't let gardening become a lost art. Teach your kids and share with the neighbors.

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