Growing Garlic

I have started to use a lot of garlic in my cooking (thanks to Emeril Live). How is it grown? Can you start it from a clove you get at the store? When is the best time to plant and harvest? I live in North Central Maryland Zone 6. I also saw on a program that you can harves a little of the green part and use it also although it is not nearly as strong as the cloves.
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You can grow garlic even if you're blindfolded, drunk and lobotomized. And yes, you can plant the store-bought stuff. Plant some RIGHT NOW, and one more batch in late July. Finally, plant a crop in late October for growth & harvest in mid to early spring next year. Plant the cloves with the root end DOWN, about 3-4" deep. Water, cover with a little mulch (grass clippings or whatever), and start looking up recipes.
Each clove will produce a head of garlic (underground) like you buy in the store. The top growth will be nothing but green stalks, like onions and most everything else in the Allium family. When the stalks begin to turn brown, dig carefully underneath the bulbs to remove them. Cut off the browned stalks, brush as much dirt off the garlic as possible, and place on a screen to dry until the skin is crisp (for best storage). Some people braid the stalks with the heads attached and hang the whole thing up. The key is dry, clean skin, and harvesting them without bruising.
In 20 years of gardening, I've never found a pest of any kind that bothered garlic. Dogs digging in the garden are a possibility, but here's a hint from a Vietnamese friend: Dogs are delicious when properly cooked.

Live).
When
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Doug Kanter wrote:

The only things I would add are:
You can use the first growth for cooking. It's mild. You can get a couple of cuttings. If you do this, you will not get a garlic head.
The plant will send up a flower stalk. It is easily recognizable since the stalk is round while the leaves are flat. It has a pointed end (the flower) and makes a loop or two. Interesting looking. Break it off. If you don't remove it, the plant will send its energy to the flower and not to the garlic head. The heads will be 30-50% smaller. You can use the flower stalks in cooking (some of them may need to be peeled) but they're a bit milder than the garlic. I just finished removing my flowers here in New England. In Maryland they might be a bit earlier.
For those plants on which you missed the flowers, you will get some small bulbils forming at the top of the stalk (which will straighten out in the process of growth). You can plant these close and use the resulting greens for cooking. I've never gotten a sizeable garlic head from one of them.
Optimum sprouting temperature for garlic is 40F, the normal refrigerator temperature. Don't store the garlic in the fridge.
If you plant in the fall and your ground freezes during the winter, mulch your garlic. This is not to prevent the ground from freezing, but to prevent it from thawing and freezing as the temperature changes over the winter. The freeze/thaw cycling will heave the cloves out of the ground and break whatever roots have grown to that point, setting the garlic back a bit. That means smaller heads.
I don't remove the tops when I harvest the garlic. It dries fine. I just bundle it into groups of 10 and set it on a screen (in my greenhouse). A sunny spot is OK for drying, but don't store the garlic permanently in the sun. The result will be greening of the heads, like potatoes. Air circulation is essential for drying. When the heads are dry, cut off the tops, trim the roots and brush off the dirt.
Hardneck varieties are difficult to braid. Even the softneck varieties are difficult after the drying has started. Do it as soon as the plants are harvested. Getting a good tight braid takes some practice.
When you harvest the garlic, set aside the biggest and best heads. You will plant these in the fall for next year.
Garlic, like all alliums, likes rich soil. Compost works well, Give it lots of fertilizer (within reason, of course). Water is essential, particularly when the heads are sizing up (at flowering time and after).
My schedule in New England is: October-November plant and mulch; about April go down the row looking for skips and move the mulch aside there to allow the plant to emerge, replace mulch to keep weeds down; fertilize in April; Remove flowers mid June to end of June; harvest late July to August.
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By the way, climate is not an issue with garlic, in terms of its ability to survive winters. Climates further North than yours require planting the fall crop a little earlier to allow for some root growth, but that's about it.

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Paul E. Lehmann wrote:

Paul,
I have been growing garlic for over 30 years and it is VERY easy to grow. Yes, you can use the cloves that you get in the store.
In my area (we have fairly cold winters) is best to plant it in the fall and let it "winter over" and it will be ready to harvest in June (I just dug some from my garden yesterday). You can also plant it in the early spring and it will be ready a little latter (depending on what zone you are in).
If you have kids (or grand kids), let them help you plant it and then when it is harvested use it on a food that they like. This helps them appreciate growing things and they can brag that "I grew that".
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

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On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 12:48:32 -0400, Paul E. Lehmann wrote:

Yes!
Plant in fall about 2-3 inches deep, 2-3 inches apart, harvest in July, at least here in N.Y. Garlic is SUPER EASY! In June it will throw up a ball of I guess they are seeds, cut it off as soon as you see it so that the bulb will fatten better. In July the foliage will die back. Cut it down, dig up the bulbs and hang to dry. Plant more in fall!
Tom
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I concur that garlic is amonst the easiest to grow veggies. It is pH tolerant, tolerant of poor soil, and overwinters easily in Zone 6. some tips:
1) your main crop will be planed in october for harvest in July. 2) despite advice from the other posters, hardneck garlic (not to be found in store) is the superior choice for the home gardener. Bigger, easier to peel, hardier, and much tastier. I got mine from Territorial Seeds.
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It's been reported that some store garlic has anti-sprouting agents applied (at least in the past). If you see a green shoot peeking through, you should be okay.
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Salty Thumb wrote:

That is a good point. To be on the safe side you might want to buy it at your local garden center. The problem is that a lot of garden centers only sell it in spring and, as many have said, fall is the best time to plant it in many areas.
--
Bill R. (Ohio Valley, U.S.A)

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On Fri, 25 Jun 2004 12:48:32 -0400, "Paul E. Lehmann"

Garlic likes cool weather. Mine has all wilted and turned brown, but it comes back in January. I started them by planting a clove (breaking apart all the "toes") in a row in front of my roses. They are supposed to repel aphids but I don't think so. The foliage looks nice in front of the roses. Plant in early spring, harvest in summer.
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See: http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/garlic.htm sed5555
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