Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Early today, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I LOVE the first hour of my day relaxing before I get out of my bed and start the day. Once I was up and at my computer, I had decided to write about creating a container garden. I was writing and decided to take a short break and stroll through my barren land from the winter months. This morning it's 50 degrees and cloudy with a very chilly breeze where I live. I had worked through the 60 degree weather days that we just had. I couldn't pass up a pleasant but cold stroll through the garden with a coffee.
I took a step outside and drew a deep breath enjoying the fresh chilly air! After pausing to take an overview of my yard and garden, I started to walk around for closer inspection of my garden. As I walked around where I had planted garlic last year, I saw some sprouts already coming up through my mulch of wood chips! I was so surprised! That made me too excited and made me want to dance! Now, I can't do that because, for one, I'm a terrible dancer, and two, I fear the neighbors may think I'm a lunatic dancing alone in my backyard with no music. They only have two choices to believe I'm crazy or laugh at me, so I refrained from dancing. Seeing the garlic made me feel like writing about growing garlic instead of container gardening today.
How to Grow Garlic
This is how I grow garlic in zone 5. I have started a no-till garden bed which I have mulched with wood chips. I have only planted hard neck varieties of garlic because they can withstand colder temperatures than soft neck varieties. Next year I'll try one soft neck variety to experiment.
I plant my garlic in the fall of the year, about 30 days before my last average frost date(information on that here). Seeding early enough gives the roots time to develop before the ground freezes. Covering with wood chips also helps with insulating the garlic. I use the largest garlic from the previous year as seed garlic to plant the following year. Take your healthiest and largest bulb and replant that one. The purpose of this is to have healthier and stronger bulbs for your future.
First, I break the bulb open and pull all the cloves apart. Once I have done that, I will rake the wood chips from the area I have chosen to plant the garlic. I use my shovel to open the soil and slide the garlic down into the ground. You'll want to put the root side facing downward. Space them from two to two and a half inches apart. I put it deep enough to cover the top with soil, and then I cover them again with an inch of wood chips. After these steps, you can now wait excitedly throughout the winter and take a look in spring and see how they are doing!