We can't imagine a vegetable garden without garlic. We have found it to be one of the easiest and most satisfying vegetables we grow, and we would love to persuade you to give it a try if you have never grown it before. We have a terrific selection of garlic to plant this fall; Click here for the complete list.
We think everyone should grow their own garlic, and here are a few reasons why:
- Garlic has been used as medicine for thousands of years and it is still regularly prescribed, either as food or in supplement form, for a wide array of ailments. Among the illnesses that garlic is considered possibly effective for: hardening of the arteries; colon and rectal cancer; high blood pressure; prostate cancer; and several fungal conditions including ringworm and athlete’s foot.
- Regular eating of garlic is believed to prevent the common cold and tick bites and to enhance athletic performance. For more detailed information on the health effects of garlic, see this article on WebMD.
- Fresh, homegrown garlic has been found to have higher levels of allicin, the compound that is responsible for garlic’s health benefits.
- Garlic is extremely easy to grow. Separate a bulb into cloves, plant the cloves 6 inches apart, pointed end up, and cover the tip with 2 inches of soil. Mulch with 4-6 inches of hay, straw or grass clipping. Wait for spring. Click here to read more details on how to grow great garlic.
- Garlic is planted in fall and harvested in early summer, so it uses garden space at a time it would normally go unused. You can plant a different crop, such as beans or squash, after you harvest the garlic next year.
- Growing your own garlic allows you to experience entirely new flavors from supermarket garlic, most of which is a single bland variety. Garlic varieties vary in flavor from mild and nutty to hot and spicy.
- Most supermarket garlic is imported from China, where it may be grown under questionable conditions, then bleached and fumigated before it is shipped to the U.S.
- You’ll get a big return on investment when you grow garlic. Every clove becomes a bulb. When well-grown, garlic can produce 10 times the weight of the amount you plant.
- Garlic is a beautiful plant. The tall, strappy leaves and the flower stalks of hardneck varieties are very attractive in the garden. And the bulbs, once cured and cleaned, are little works of art that you can braid to hang in the kitchen or give as memorable gifts.
- You can save your own seed. Garlic experts recommend it, in fact, because it takes a couple of years for garlic to settle in to your soil and climate. Save your biggest and best bulbs for planting to develop a locally adapted strain.