I was watching a rerun of an episode of the television show, Friends the other night and in the episode Phoebe accuses Monica of using way too much garlic when she cooks food at her restaurant. That led me to thinking is too much garlic a bad thing? Me personally, I don’t think so.
Beyond warding away vampires in horror films, garlic is a great addition to a lot of wonderful recipes you can prepare right at home. To make those recipes even better you can user garlic grown right in your own backyard.
Garlic is a tricky vegetable but not a complicated one to grow. If you give it the right environment you can harvest plenty to last you for months. For instance, garlic loves a soil rich in organic matter such as compost. So whatever area you choose to grow your garlic make sure you mix in plenty of compost. Burying your food leftovers at least eighteen inches deep in that same spot helps as well.
Garlic germinates at a cooler temperature. It likes the soil to be around fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (thirteen Celsius). Once garlic germinates in the cooler soil, you can grow it in soil that gets a bit warmer but if you can keep it cool you will be better off.
Even though garlic itself can be a bit spicy, the soil it needs is anything but. Garlic loves the soil pH level to be above 6.0 and as near 7.0 as you can possibly get. The best way to test your soil’s pH level is use a home soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for less than five bucks. Under 7 and your soil is acidic. Over 7 and your soil is alkaline. Make adjustments to your soil as per the instructions on the kit.
Garlic loves full sun and light watering. Pick a spot in your garden that receives sun first thing in the morning and of course throughout the day. Also this same spot should have good drainage as garlic likes it moist but not saturated. Saturating the soil could cause the garlic cloves to rot. If you mix in plenty of compost you shouldn’t have much of a problem.
When the bottom two or three leaves turn yellow it is time to harvest the garlic. This usually occurs late summer or early autumn. On a side note planting garlic in between beets is a great way to keep the soil cool for your garlic.
Now you have no excuses for not adding garlic to your home vegetable garden. It doesn’t matter if you have a ½ acre farm or grow vegetables in containers. You can grow garlic at home during your gardening season.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike’s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.
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