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Garlic Growing Tips for Southeastern Minnesota

(credit Territorial—

  • Garlic thrives in rich, well-drained soil with pH between 6.0-7.0

  • Work in 1 inch layer of compost (Territorial seed recommends 1/2 cup bone meal, 1/2 cup TSC's complete fertilizer per 5 row feet).  At Four Cats Farm, we use our own farm compost.

  • When spring growth begins, water to keep soil slightly moist.  Fertilize with natural fertilizer

  • As harvest approaches, water less to avoid molding or staining

  • Keep well-weeded until last week before harvesting.  Garlic does not compete well with weeds.

  • For hardnecks (all of Four Cats Farm garlic is the hardneck variety), cut off the flowering stems (scapes) at the top leaf to redirect energy to the bulb.

Plant in Fall

  • Timing is critical, within 1-2 weeks after first killing frost, typically first or second week of October in Rochester, MN

  • Separate cloves just before planting, keeping as much skin on as possible.

  • Plant base of clove 2-3 inches below soil with 6 inch spacing between cloves.  Make sure the pointed up is up.

  • Mulch with 3-4 inches of seed-free straw or leaves within 6 weeks of planting

  • Garlic should start to show above surface in Fall

—Spring Maintenance

  • Keep garlic well weeded, garlic is a poor competitor of weeds

  • Apply natural fertilizer if needed

  • Keep well watered in mid May to late June

—Harvest in Late June / Early July

  • Pick a day where the soil is dry and the top 4-5 leaves are still slightly green but the lower leaves are dry.  Each green leaf represents one layer of covering over the bulb in the group.

  • Dig with shoots and roots attached, shake off excess dirt and give the bottom of the bulb a good rubbing to get as much mud and dirt off as possible.  You don't want to clean them but you want enough dirt removed so that they dry easily.

  • Lay the bulbs on a grid or mesh for drying or tie them up in bunches and hang them to dry.  They should cure in a dark, well vented (not hot) area.

  • Let bulbs cure 3-4 weeks, then brush off remaining soil and cut off tops

  • Store in mesh bags in a cool dry location

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