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Now is a great time to plant garlic. These days, you will find a good selection of seed garlic at local nurseries and farmers markets. Some cringe at the price of seed garlic since it can be as much as $15 per pound. Don’t let this fool you. Garlic is one of those good-value crops. Each clove of garlic in a single head will turn into an entire head the following summer. With seed garlic, each head will give you six to 12 cloves.

Thorough prepping of the soil at planting time is vital if you plan to harvest fat heads later on. Deeply dig into the soil as much compost and composted manure as possible. Next, dig in one tablespoon of 4-4-4 all-purpose organic fertilizer at the bottom of each little planting hole for the clove. This puts nutrients directly to the roots.

Once the bed has been planted, scratch in another round of 4-4-4. After watering in the bed, lay a thick layer of rice straw for mulch.

Fall garlic loves the cool, wet weather of winter. The best part about growing garlic is that the rain does all the watering for you.

March is a good time to give garlic another feeding. Pull back the mulch and scratch in another round of 4-4-4. This is also a good time to take care of any weeding.

If spring rain becomes light and sporadic, watering garlic through May might be necessary. It is critical that garlic receives plenty of water while forming heads. Keeping weeds at bay is necessary, too.

Terry Kramer is the site manager for the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at terrykramer90@gmail.com.

 

 

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