Learning to grow garlic in a permaculture garden begins with finding high-quality garlic seed for sale, prepping your garden, and watching your green thumb work its magic.
Gardeners worldwide agree that garlic is easy to plant, low-maintenance, and quick to harvest, treasured for its medicinal herb value, garden benefits, and culinary uses. Read on for tips on growing garlic in a permaculture garden.
Choose a garlic variety
Unlike most fruity plants that go into the ground in spring and are harvested in fall, garlic is planted in the fall after the first killing frost and is harvested mid-summer. Additionally, garlic is simple to grow if you pair the suitable garlic variety with your environment.
For example, hardneck garlic varieties have a better flavor taste with skin tough enough to withstand colder climates than softneck garlic.
Porcelain hardneck garlic adapts to temperate climates and has a strong garlic flavor over eight or more months. On the other hand, rocambole hardneck garlic is the standard for gardeners who grow in hot summers and seek rich, spicy garlic flavors.
You can try softneck garlic varieties for a mild flavor that grows best in warmer environments. Artichoke softneck garlic can last up to eight months in zone 5 climates but can mold and spoil quickly, so store silverskin softneck garlic for up to a year under nourishing conditions.
Find the perfect location to prepare your soil
Garlic grows best with minimal shade, full sunlight, and well-drained soil that can retain moisture with a balanced pH level.
To build the best possible environment, test your soils for organic matter like nitrogen and phosphorus, as some gardens may require unique minerals to support your soil’s structure.
You can also develop healthy soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure. However, using fresh manure may damage your garlic plants with harmful bacteria. Instead, dry clay soil should be mixed with potting sand and mineral inputs to increase clay soil drainage.
Create a plant guild
Plant your garlic near other crops and select plants that will help your garlic thrive. For example, plant your garlic on the south side of taller plants like spinach plants that supply groundwater or tomato plants for pest and fungal control if you live in the Northern hemisphere. Or do the opposite in the Southern hemispheres.
Also, avoid plants that stunt garlic growth like beans, asparagus, and strawberries. Plant your garlic bulbs approximately eight inches apart, and two inches deep with the root end down and the point up.
However, if you’re growing garlic seeds into plants, plant your garlic in the fall away from garlic bulbs and let them grow wild in a mulched, weed-free bed until harvest time.
Then, you’ll be able to harvest your garlic from the soil in the second year of planting.
Let them grow and harvest your garlic
Now the most accessible part is letting your garlic grow, watering every 3-5 days. When summer comes around, you’ll notice that your garlic leaves have turned a dry mustard color. Then, finally, they’re ready to harvest and cure.
To harvest your garlic:
- Use a garden fork to loosen up the ground around your garlic bulb.
- Gently work the bulb out of the soil.
- Dust off the dirt.
- Bundle garlic stems together and prepare to cure.
Once you’ve harvested your crops, gather eight to ten garlic stems, cut off the remaining leaves, and hang in a cool and dry place to cure with good airflow for four weeks. Avoid areas with a lot of moisture-caused bacteria and sunlight.
Garlic is a proven, easy-to-grow perennial. After prepping your garden in the fall, you can enjoy a bountiful summer harvest, cutting, drying, storing, and enjoying your garlic in a delightful meal.
Just don’t forget to save your seeds from your healthiest garlic bulbs for next season’s premium homegrown harvest.