A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat. –Yiddish proverb
Benefits and nutritional information:
- In the typical serving size of 1–3 cloves, garlic provides no significant nutritional value, with the content of all essential nutrients below 10% of the Daily Value (DV) (table).
- Whether or not garlic provides health benefits is a matter of opinion. Some sources make extensive claims for its benefits while others say those benefits are minor at best.
- The main case for garlic is that it’s one of the most widely-used flavorings in cooking. In 2019, worldwide production was estimated at 31 tons of garlic.
- Garlic is usually started by planting individual cloves root side down, 2” deep and at least 6” apart in rows 12” apart.
- It is recommended that you use garlic cloves from a commercial nursery instead of those from a grocery store which may be varieties unsuitable for our area.
When to plant:
- November is the best time to plant garlic in our area. This will allow garlic to develop roots over the winter and will yield a good crop the following June. If shoots do develop prior to cold weather setting in, they must be protected from temperatures falling below 20 degrees F.
- Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring since they can decrease bulb size.
Signs of over-watering, nutrient deficiency
- Yellowing leaves can be a sign of nitrogen deficiency.
Pests and pest controls
- Garlic has very few problems with pests in the garden (in fact, its a natural pest repellent), and also very few problems with the diseases that plague other veggies.
- The clue is to look for yellowing foliage. Harvest when the tops just begin to yellow and fall over, but before they are completely dry.
- Before digging up your whole crop, it’s time for a sample! Lift a bulb to see if the crop is ready. We often dig up a bulb before the tops are completely yellow (in late June or early July) as some garlic types will be ready earlier. The garlic head will be divided into plump cloves and the skin covering the outside of the bulbs will be thick, dry and papery.
- If pulled too early, the bulb wrapping will be thin and disintegrate.
- If left in the ground too long, the bulbs sometimes split apart. The skin may also split, which exposes the bulbs to disease and will affect their longevity in storage.
- To harvest, carefully dig (don’t pull or yank by hand!) up the bulbs using a garden fork. Avoid damaging the roots and especially the root-plate (where they attach to the bulb). Lift the plants, carefully brush off surplus soil but do not remove any foliage or roots before putting them to dry thoroughly.
- Let them cure in an airy, shady, dry spot for two weeks. We hang them upside down on a string in bunches of 4 to 6 or you can leave them to try on a home-made rack made from chicken wire stretched over posts. Make sure all sides get good air circulation.
- After a few weeks, the garlic should be totally dry and ready to store.
Other resources and articles
- Garlic can be an excellent companion plant for several other crops since many insect pests — including aphids — don’t like the “pungent aroma.” In addition, the sulfur in the garlic bulb may repel some types of soil-borne fungi.
- Cabbage, Kale, Kohlrabi, Broccoli and all other brassicas — garlic repels cabbage caterpillars and cabbage loopers as well as cabbage maggots.
- Peppers and Tomatoes — garlic can help keep troublesome fungi, such as verticillium wilt and phytophthora blight away.
- Beets — experienced gardeners claim that garlic helps improve the flavor of beets.
- Carrots — garlic helps repel the carrot fly. In return, carrots help deter insects that feed on garlic.
- Parsnips are another root crop that is helped by garlic’s ability to deter root maggots.
- Not all plants do well near garlic because it inhibits their growth: