Growing Garlic in the South

Garlic for the southern region of the USA:  Choose the softneck types including Cuban Purple, Inchelium Red, Ajo Roja, Siciliano, Susanville.  Note:  if you are reading about garlic scapes on the garlic crop,  it is probably a hardneck type of garlic which do not grow as well in the south as do the softneck types.

Plant near the shortest day of the year in December (or after a hard frost in November) and plan to harvest near the longest day of the year in June.  Garlic is a 6-7 months long crop.

Weeding is important, as garlic does not like competition. Watering and not watering, harvesting on time and curing properly are all important for producing bulbs with good keeping qualities.  (Notes from Boundary Garlic Farm)

Plant each clove 2″ deep,  cloves 6″ apart, and  8″ between rows.  Fertilize in spring.  Withhold watering the last few weeks before harvest.

Harvest:  When the lower leaves of stalk die and begin to brown.  Gently move soil around bulbs and lift up the bulbs.  Do not pull from the green stalk.  Dry in a cool, airy place for two weeks.  Then braid the garlic or cut the dried stalks and store in a string bag or mesh bag with air to circulate.

Most softneck garlics will store 6-9 months.

Harvest some green garlic in spring for a fresh mild taste.  The bulb will not have formed cloves but can be sliced like a scallion including the green stalk in your salads and cooking.

Note about watering garlic:  From Boundary Garlic Farm

Garlic requires fairly even soil moisture during the growing season with no additional moisture during the last few weeks. Mulch is one way of maintaining an even moisture regime. Not enough moisture means that garlic does not develop a full sized bulb. Over watering results in garlic with poor keeping qualities – poor wrappers, burst skins and mold. Also, it is harder to cure garlic that has been over watered.

Tip – Do Not Over Water
If you want to keep your garlic through the winter, it is safer to stop watering too soon than to try to get the last bit of size to the bulbs since over watering shortens the life of bulbs.

Growing Garlic from Mother Earth News