Close-up on two hands planting garlic bulbs into soil
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Grow Your Own Garlic — DIY Vampire Protection

If you’ve ever been frustrated by having to go buy garlic to ward off the creatures of Halloween, this year, take a different approach. Get some good seed garlic and devote a bit of your garden space to it. Plant it now for a mid-summer harvest, and you’ll have an abundance of your own crop to ward off anyone whose gone bats.

Here’s how to grow your own garlic:

  1. Purchase good quality seed garlic from a nursery or mail-order source. You might also find it from the professional local farmers selling at neighborhood farmers markets.
  2. Garlic is grown by planting individual cloves split from a healthy head. Carefully pry the head apart. Plant only the largest cloves, leaving their papery covering intact.
  3. Plant the cloves with the pointed end up, 6 to 8 inches apart, in rows 8 to 12 inches apart. The tip of the clove should be two inches beneath the soil surface.
  4. Cover the soil with up to four inches of loose mulch, like straw or shredded leaves, to keep the bed warmer and reduce weeds.
  5. Keep the bed well-weeded, as garlic does not compete well with weeds. The first green shoots should appear about mid-winter. They often survive even a harsh cold spell or snow, or send up new shoots if the first ones die back.
  6. In the spring, when the soil warms, pull the mulch away from the shoots. Fertilize by side dressing with a dry, balanced organic fertilizer blend once in early spring, and perhaps a second time in late spring.

Garlic should not need any additional water when planted in the maritime climate, and may not need much throughout the spring, unless the weather is unusually dry. Discontinue supplemental water a month before harvesting, which usually happens in late June. Harvest when the lowest two sets of leaves are brown and dry.