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If you’ve always wanted to try growing garlic, now is a great time to start. Here’s everything you need to know about how to grow garlic, from clove to harvest.
You probably think of garlic as a fall crop, but it turns out that you can plant in the spring, too. If you’re planning a spring planting, wait until after the last freeze, then get planting. For fall plantings, late winter to early fall is the best time to plant.
Garlic is a great plant for novice gardeners or for kids to grow. It sprouts up quickly and, so far, has been hard to kill. Our fledgling garlic crop has survived highs in the 80s and lows in the mid 30s. And since garlic naturally deters pests, we don’t have to worry too much about critters attacking it.
You can really harness garlic’s pest-deterring power by sowing the cloves among your other food plants. Garlic doesn’t need a lot of space to grow, so you don’t need to worry about giving up too much precious garden real estate to include some garlic among your other food plants. We have one bed dedicated to garlic and I’ve also done some companion plantings in the bed with our tomatoes, to deter little beasties.
My son and I just planted a couple of heads of garlic in one of our raised beds a few weeks ago and it’s growing like gangbusters.
How to Grow Garlic
Planting garlic could not be easier. Just hit the grocery store for a few heads of organic garlic and you’ve got yourself enough to fill a 4×6 foot raised bed and then some.
To plant, simply remove the papery skin from the head, then pop off the cloves. These are your seeds. Plant each clove, pointy-side-up, with just enough dirt to cover in a spot that gets full sun. Garlic doesn’t require a lot of space. Leave about four inches between your cloves, if you’re planning to let them fully mature.
My three-year-old basically did all of the garlic planting in our raised bed. I showed him how to break off a clove of garlic, how to plant it in the soil and left him to it. I did have to go behind him and space things out a bit, once the garlic started to sprout. He tended to cluster the cloves together and they do need those few inches of breathing room. The garlic plants held up fine when I moved them.
Each clove will produce a head of garlic, if you leave it long enough. It takes seven to nine months for garlic to mature. It’s ready to pick when the plant has plenty of leaves (10 or more) and about half of them have gone yellow, according to Garden Betty.
Harvesting and Storing Your Garlic
Use a garden spade to gently dig up the heads. Once you harvest your garlic, you can cure it to prolong its shelf life and enhance its flavor. To cure your garlic heads, hang them upside-down by the greens in a cool, dark spot for a couple of weeks. You can also let garlic cure in the ground by just not watering it, but if you’re planning for a fall harvest, rain might thwart those plans. Your garlic is done curing when the heads feel like garlic from the store—hard and papery, with cloves that will pop off easily.
Once they’re cured, wipe away excess dirt, trim off the leaves from the top and roots from the bottom and you’re ready to store in a cool, dark place. Your garlic will keep for months.
Using Uncured Garlic
While cured garlic is what we’re used to buying, uncured garlic is totally edible, it just has a shorter shelf life—maybe a week. We used to get fresh garlic in our CSA basket. It’s a bit harder to work with, but it tastes lovely anywhere that you’d use garlic.
Since uncured garlic is softer, it’s more difficult to peel and to separate the cloves. It’s worth the effort, though, to enjoy the rewards of your gardening efforts right away. I’m planning to use some uncured garlic immediately and cure the rest of my harvest for long-term storage.
Growing (and Cooking) Green Garlic
We did two rounds of planting—also known as succession planting—so we can harvest some green garlic later this spring and then harvest a bunch of whole heads in the fall. Our cloves are planted a bit closer together than recommended, because we’re planning to harvest some green garlic, which takes a lot less time to mature and only needs an inch or two of space.
Green garlic is ready to go when the stalks begin to thicken. You can harvest as soon as two months after planting or wait three or four months, for more mature green garlic. To harvest, just grab the plant as close to the soil as possible and gently wiggle the bulb out of the ground. When our green garlic is ready to harvest, we will thin out the beds, leaving the rest of the garlic to mature completely.
From a cooking perspective, green garlic is to garlic what leeks are to onions, only you can eat the green parts raw. Chop those green parts up, and enjoy in salads or on top of your favorite Buddha bowl. The white parts of green garlic are great sauteed into any dish that calls for garlic. They give a mild, garlicky flavor that’s a bit sweeter than regular garlic. Green garlic is a real delight and I recommend planting yourself some.
Have you ever grown garlic? This is our first time growing garlic and it’s been a lot of fun to research and learn about how the process works.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
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The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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