MY MICHIGAN GARDEN
Garlic, Allium Sativum
Plant Height: 10-30"
Planting Depth: 1-2"
Soil: Rich, Well Drained
Plant Spacing: 6"
Maturity: 6-8 months
Planted In Garden:
Nov. 1, 2005
Garlic plants are easy to grow and reach in excess of 3 feet tall when
flowering. The leaves are flat, grass like, and very pointed. Hardneck garlic
forms many small white flowers in a round cluster in early summer. Miniature
bulbs, called bulbils, may form in the flower head. The underground bulbs
contain four to twenty cloves encompassed in a paper like covering—one layer
for each leaf on the plant.
The Two Sub-Species:
1. Hardneck (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon): Hardneck
varieties are further classified into Purple Stripe, Porcelain, and Rocambole
types. They send up a central stalk, called a scape, which, if left to mature,
is topped with a flowering seed cap. They typically have large, easy-peeling
cloves, and a rich, aromatic flavor that is not too spicy. They often develop
more colorful bulbs and offer a wider range of flavors than softneck varieties. They are preferred for northern climates and can generally be stored for three to six months.
2. Softneck (Allium sativum var. sativum): Also called braiding
garlic, softneck garlics are divided into Silverskin, Artichoke, and Turban
types. They usually do not produce a flower spike, are easier to grow, more
productive, and more adaptable to a wider range of climates than the hardneck
type. They generally have a spicier flavor and mature faster. Typically, these
garlics are grown in southern California and near the Gulf of Mexico where
winters are moderate. They can be stored for up to a year or more under proper
conditions, with the Silverskin types being the best keepers.
Propagation: Garlic is propagated by planting cloves (sections of the
bulb), or bulbils which are collected from the flowering tops of hardneck
types. Each clove or bulbil will develop into a bulb. For the best production,
cloves are planted directly into the ground in the fall, four to six weeks before
the ground freezes. Garlic can also be sown in early spring. Bulbils are best
started in nursery flats in late winter and then planted outside once leaf
growth is present. Propagating from bulbils generally produces lower yields
and may take two to three years to produce full-size bulbs.
Soil & Water:
Garlic prefers rich, well-drained soil, full sun, and regular water. Mulch
heavily to hold moisture and control weeds.
The bulbs are harvested in early summer in areas where the garlic is fall
planted, and in mid to late summer in areas where it is spring planted.
Harvest is usually done as the plants start to die back and 1/2 to 2/3 of the
leaf material is yellow or brown, turning from a succulent, fleshy texture to
a dry, papery sheath.
Early spring growth, April 9th, 2006
Garlic June 19, about ready
content property of
Michigan Interactive ©since 1995 all rights reserved