Summer Garlic Care

July 2, 2007

The gourmet garlic that was planted last fall continues to grow and should be ready for harvesting in another month or so.

The only complaint so far is that some critter has been getting into the bed and knocking over some of the garlic plants.

Growing Garlic, Easy as 1 – 2 – 3

Last month I posted an article describing techniques for providing spring garlic care to the growing plants, today I wanted to continue the discussion with a few comments regarding summertime garlic maintenance chores. Maybe I shouldn’t even use the word maintenance because there really isn’t much to do with garlic during the summer months.

The major responsibility will be to ensure that your garlic plants receive sufficient amounts of moisture from either rainfall or irrigation. This is especially important if weather conditions are hot and dry. In the absence of adequate rainfall I like to water the garlic bed deeply at least once a week.

A thick mulch of shredded leaves applied during late fall will last through the summer and help to conserve moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering. The mulch will also restrict weed growth to just about nothing.

Weeding and Feeding Summer Garlic Plants

Without a mulch to block weed growth you’ll have to spend more of your time pulling weeds from the garlic bed. The garlic leaves aren’t very large or wide, so they won’t do much on their own to shade the ground and prevent weeds from growing freely. It’s your choice; mulch the garlic beds in the fall, or weed them in the summer.

About once a month apply a foliar fertilizer of seaweed or fish emulsion to provide the garlic plants with extra nutrients to keep them healthy and growing strongly. So as you can see, other than watering and an occasional application of a liquid organic fertilizer, there isn’t much to do out in the gourmet garlic bed during late spring and summer.

The only other task that I can think of is to remove the garlic scapes from the plants as they appear and begin to uncurl. The scapes are delicious with that familiar garlicky flavor that will enhance your favorite recipes or provide a new twist on pesto.

With just a small amount of attention your garlic will survive and thrive right on through the heat of summer. As harvest time nears you should also taper off watering the garlic bed. Later this month I’ll post an entry on tips for harvesting garlic and curing your crop of delicious homegrown bulbs.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Kenny, thank you for the update! I was wondering about watering…whether I should be watering more or less now that the garlic’s getting more mature. I appreciate all the garlic-growing tips.

  • I did the leaves last fall over the garlic and it worked great. I suddenly realized they’ve either decomposed or something as the bed was overtaken by weeds. Mine are starting to brown now and I believe are nearly ready for harvest. I grew these from bulbs I grew last year so I have high hopes, as I think they adapt to your own garden conditions. I had one come up with the weeding and used it in a corn and bean salad dressing last night. Mmmm!

  • Pingback: Spring Garlic Care » Veggie Gardening Tips()

  • sara t

    What do I do with the spirals (seed heads) that grow at the top of the garlic plants? Cut them off? Thanks!

  • Jerry Stanley

    Hi Kenny,
    Do you grow any softneck garlic? Do you think it will grow in zone 5, northwestern PA? I hear it stores longer.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Jerry, I prefer the hardneck garlic varieties but I have grown a few softneck garlics and they will grow just fine in Pennsylvania.

  • Thanks for excellent posts on growing garlic. But does anybody know if it is true that growing garlic in the garden will keep bugs on plants away?

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