Plant cloves in well-drained soil rich in organic matter and full sun. Do not hold your bulbs until the next planting season. Choose a location in full sun with well-drained soil where you did not plant garlic the previous year. Plant garlic 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes solid. This will enable the cloves to establish some roots while minimizing the amount of top growth prior to winter. If your ground does not freeze solid, plant 2-4 weeks before the coldest time of year. Spring planting will yield small bulbs.)
Each bulb is made up of several sections called “cloves” held together by a thin, papery covering. Before planting break the cloves apart and plant each separately, this can be done up to a week in advance to the day of planting.
Plant individual cloves approximately 6" apart in rows 24" apart, or 3 - 4 rows per bed with 6" spacing in and between rows. Push the clove, root end (rounded end) down, about 2 - 3" into the soil, or place cloves in a furrow and cover with 2 - 3" of soil. Cover with 3 - 4" of mulched straw or leaves. The color, flavor, and size of garlic heads can be variable depending on location, fertility, and weather .Provide nitrogen during vegetative growth in the early Spring and deep watering as needed. Keep water in the root zone, not around bulbs. Cut off water about 2-3 weeks before harvest. Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
Hard neck Garlic: Hard neck garlic requires exposure to cold temperatures. If you are growing where temperatures are not consistently below 40-50°F (4-10°C) in the winter, you may need to apply a cold treatment by placing you garlic in a paper bag and refrigerate for 10-12 weeks prior to planting.
Hard neck garlic will form flower stalks, called scapes. The scapes are hard, long, curled stalks that appear 1 - 2 months after the first leaves. Top the plants by cutting the scape from the plant when the scape begins to curl. Scapes are edible and are great for pesto, pasta sauces, grilled/roasted, and so much more!
Soft neck Garlic: Like its name suggests, softneck garlic do not produce a hard stalk which produces garlic scapes. However, Garlic is an extremely hardy plant, and under any growing conditions not 100% "ideal" (soil conditions, weather, etc.) it may produce scapes, stalks with above ground bulbs, or a combination of these. This is the plants attempt at making sure it can "reproduce" for next season. If your plants experience any of these know that you are not alone, and it is not cause for a concern, and your garlic will be harvestable! Soft neck scapes can be harvested and used just like a hard neck variety.
How to harvest: In summer when the bottom leaves are beginning to yellow and when 3 - 4 lower leaves turn brown, which should be in June through August, depending on your location. Do not leave in the ground too long or bulbs will separate and rot. Dig garlic with a spading fork, being careful not to bruise the bulbs. Brush off the soil before curing and storing the bulbs.
Storage: Cure in a warm, shady place with good air circulation (gentle air flow is important; do not point a fan directly at the curing bulbs). To avoid potential damage to curing bulbs, avoid high heat and direct sun. Hang in bundles or spread as a single layer on screens or drying racks. Allow to cure until the neck is dry and outer skin is papery, approximately 2 - 3 weeks. Trim off stalks and roots and keep in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place at 45 - 55°F (7 - 13°C) and 50 - 60% relative humidity. Garlic stored in the refrigerator is likely to sprout.
Planting: Separate shallot sets into individual shallots. Some shallots will not easily separate and should be left intact rather than tearing into the ‘flesh’ of the shallot. Smaller cloves generally produce larger but fewer sets, and larger cloves generally produce smaller but more sets. Can be planted early in the spring or late Fall. In the Spring, they can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked and should be planted early enough to have several weeks of cool temperatures while rooting. Plant shallots 8 inches apart, just below the surface of the soil, in well drained soil. Cover lightly with about ½ inch of well packed soil. Water deeply so water is at root level and not around the bulb. If flower stalks form, cut them off at the base.
Harvest: Begin to taper off water as leaves turn brown. Shallots are ready to harvest when they have fallen over and the leaves are mostly brown. Spread the bulbs out in a shady area to dry for several weeks before clipping the tops and roots. For best storage, keep in a cool and dark place with moderate humidity.