You may be overloaded with tomatoes right now, but if you’re hoping to harvest homegrown garlic next summer, it’s just about time to start preparing for your fall planting. If you’re new to garlic-growing, here’s the first step: Choose and order your seed garlic, which are garlic cloves that are meant to be planted. The Coloradoan explains the difference between two garlic varieties:
There are two distinct subspecies within garlic (Allium Sativum) — hard-necked and soft-necked. Hard-neck garlic has large bulbs with fewer cloves (approximately 4 -7 cloves per bulb), produces a flower stalk, and is slightly easier to peel. If you want to store your garlic through winter in braids or want a slightly spicier flavor, go with soft-neck.
Hood River Garlic offers an assortment of garlic varieties, but you’ve got to place your order soon—the “zesty little garlic” called Ajo Rojo is already sold out. Hood River also offers a garlic calendar, which explains how to tend to your harvest month to month—from the October planting to snapping off garlic scapes in May to the summertime harvest.
Each garlic clove you put in the soil produces a plant, and there’s a head of garlic at the base of each plant. Since my garden is pretty small—and since I use a ton of garlic—the one-head-per-plant ratio doesn’t really make the most of my space, but I still think garlic-growing would be fun, especially when it’s time to harvest those tender scapes in the spring.