Perennial – ‘Common’ Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic was used at the beginning of recorded history and was in use in Egypt pyramids and ancient Greece.  The root is composed of from ten to fifteen small bulbs, called “cloves,” which are enclosed in a thin, white, semi-transparent skin, or pellicle. The leaves are long and narrow. The flower-stem is cylindrical, about eighteen inches in height, and terminates in an umbel, or group, of pale-pink flowers, intermixed with small bulbs. The seeds are black, and, inform, irregular; but are seldom employed for propagation; the cloves, or small bulbs, succeeding better.

Hardiness

  • Perennial

Origins

  • Southern Europe.

Uses

  • Common garlic is cultivated for its bulbs, or cloves, which possess more of the flavor of the onion than any other alliaceous plant. These are sometimes employed in soups, stews, and other dishes; and, in some parts of Europe, are eaten in a raw state with bread.  Garlic’s strong flavor, and the offensive odor it communicates to the breath, causing it to be sparingly used in our cookery.
  • Garlic can be planted as a border or inter-planted.   The flowers will attract bees of many varieties to your garden to help with pollination.

Attracts

  • Bees

Requirements

  • Garlic thrives best in a light, well-enriched soil and is helped by lite side dressing throughout the growing season.    Keeping the ground free from weeds and regularly watered.

When to Plant

  • Common garlic is commonly planted in the fall; especially, in southern climates.  However, it may be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Plant an inch deep, in rows or on ridges, fourteen inches apart, and five or six inches apart in the rows.
  • I do, periodically, plant in small clusters of three to five in the corners of my raised beds or in areas where I expect my vines to cover serving as a pollinator attractor.

Cautions

  • Not recommended for inter-planting or companion planting with beans if any kind.

Harvesting

When the leaves turn yellow, the plants may be taken up and sun-dried.  After having been dried in the sun, they should be tied up in bunches by the stalks, and suspended in a dry, airy room, for use.

Storage

The easiest way to store common garlic at home is in mesh bags or loosely woven baskets. Garlic with flexible tops can be made into pretty braids to hang; see our online slideshow for an easy how-to. Common garlic keeps longest when stored at 60 to 65 degrees and in moderate humidity.

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