GARLIC LIKES FERTILE, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7. If your soil is on the thin side, add healthy additions of compost, plus aged manure or 5-10-10 fertilizer. (Don’t use fresh animal manure, as it can cause diseases.) For an easy and large harvest, garlic grower Robin Jarry of Hope, Maine, suggests using heavily mulched raised beds. “I plant in raised beds for good drainage, and then mulch with about six inches of old hay after the ground freezes. I never water my garlic – I like low-maintenance vegetables!”
Break the bulb into individual cloves. The biggest cloves produce the biggest bulbs, so plant them first. Carefully place each clove flat (root) end down, pointy end up, about two inches deep. Space them three to six inches apart in rows 18 inches apart. Cover cloves with soil no more than one inch above the tip of the clove. If you have small or extra cloves left over, use them in your kitchen, or plant them close together in a separate spot for the gourmet “garlic greens” they’ll produce come spring. “The shoots are wonderful sauteed in stir-fries,” says Bellavia.