Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cooler days perfect for planting garlic

Sunday, October 26, 2008 * By Nancy O’Donnell * Albany Times Union

Not quite ready to throw in the gardening towel for the season?

Try your hand at growing garlic. The optimum time to plant garlic is just around the corner, so there's still time to get prepared.
To grow your own, plant anytime from mid-October up until about five weeks before the ground freezes. Planting within the next few weeks takes advantage of the cooler soil and air temperatures, which are a catalyst for root development.

Once the ground freezes, the bulb will go dormant until spring, securely anchored in the soil throughout the winter. Come spring, the roots will be in place, ready and waiting to absorb nutrients and begin the growing season.

Begin preparing your soil by incorporating lots of organic matter -- compost, grass clippings and shredded leaves -- into the garden.

Garlic loves organically rich soil with excellent drainage. Provide full sun and a pH around 6.5 to 7.

When you buy garlic, it comes as a complete bulb. Separate it into individual cloves. Make a furrow about 2 inches deep, then plant cloves pointed end up and at least 6 to 8 inches apart.

Once covered, tamp and keep watered well until the ground freezes. Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch and leave until you harvest it next summer.

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