We could expand on the benefits and uses of garlic with enough pages to fill several books. Garlic is easy to grow and establish in most climates. In most of Texas it grows year around. In cold areas the leaves freeze back and the plants return from the roots in the spring. There are sub-types of garlic but the two main types to consider are the “hardneck” and “softneck” varieties. “Hardneck” has a stiff central stem that extends from the center of the plant rising above the leaves. At the top if forms a “flower” which is really a collection of tiny garlic bulbs. These are interesting but take away from the plants energy that would be used in forming more bulbs under ground. “Softneck” garlic is less likely to form these flower stalks and the leaves normally die back to the ground after frost. The leaves can be left on the bulbs after they are dug and harvested then braided together for storage in cool dry areas with good air circulation.
Choose a permanent area to establish your plants. The row should be longer than it is wide in a location with full sun exposure. A two foot by six foot space is ideal. The soil should be well drained and loose enough for the new bulbs to form. In clay soils add Nature's Guide Expanded Shale or Nature's Guide Lava Sand to hold in moisture in dry conditions and to separate the clay particles. In sandy soils add Nature's Guide Organic Compost, Nature’s Guide Mushroom Compost, or Nature's Guide Cotton Burr Compost and mix well to form a rich loam. Mix to a depth of a foot or more.
Garlic is available at nurseries in the fall and spring. Break into individual cloves with a section of the basal plate (the part where the cloves are joined) evident on each clove. From the basal plate the roots emerge and new plants will begin to grow. Frost kills the top growth. Mulch the bed in very cold areas to protect the bulbs from freezing. In more temperate areas this is not necessary but mulching will still produce a healthier crop. Water weekly during periods of scant rainfall with a 2 oz. of Nature’s Guide Liquid Seaweed per gallon of water.
After the first heavy freeze harvest some for the kitchen and store as you would garlic you buy in the store. Split the cloves and replant until a good stand is established. The harvest fresh as you need it.