Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Garlic is sprouting!

I have started (indoors) our spring garden. I sure hope that groundhog was right on the early spring. If he wasn't, my kitchen, and tub in my master bath will be overrun with plants! Seems odd to have plants started while it is snowing outside, but I am wanting an early start this year and a nice full hardy garden.

First off, I have garlic going. My garlic is from some extra bulbs. The grocery store had them in bags marked 5 bulbs for $1. To buy a single bulb was 79 Cents. So, I bought the bag. I have 6 cloves that are sprouted, and will add more as time goes on.

Planting and growing garlic is simple. Simply separate the cloves out of the bulb, and plant them blunt end (root end) down. Each clove will grow into a plant with a bulb, and each bulb may have up to 60 cloves. I plant my cloves about one inch under the soil and about 4 inches apart. When the leaves turn brown, it is time to harvest your bulbs. Garlic likes lots of sun (sunny kitchen windows are great for pots that have a couple bulbs in it for year around, but it grows tall, so make sure your pot is sturdy so it won't tip over), and doesn't like to be too wet, so don't over water it. You can plant garlic in the spring, or in the fall--it will winter well.

You can actually harvest garlic 3 ways. First, the tops or greens, can be cut and eaten like scallions. Great for salads.

Later you can harvest the "scapes", or stalk part. It is also good for eating, and will store refrigerated for up to 3 months. You harvest it after it starts to curl up. The scapes are used in recipes as if they were a garlic bulb. When you cut off the scape, that puts all the garlic plants energy into bulb formation to grow bigger and better bulbs.

Lastly, you harvest the bulbs.

Then, you cure it for storage if you have an abundance. It needs to sure a couple of weeks before you use it. Keep it out of the sun after harvesting, and out of heat.

When I move my garlic outside, I will keep it and my horseradish in containers. Both will take over the garden and yard if I don't. I will partially bury my containers-barrels cut in half work well, as do mineral buckets.

The past two years I have spent over $140 on plants. This year my goal is to spend under $25 on plants, plus my seeds. I have some seeds left over from last year. I am planting those next. If they don't grow, I will have time to get more. However, seeds are good for several years, so I see no reason why they should not grow.

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