The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Garlic

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UT Gardens’ October Plant of the Month

Since I have started planting garlic, I have had zero vampire encounters in my garden. That’s not hearsay, that’s scientific fact. Garlic is one of those unique crops because you plant it in the fall and harvest it in the early part of summer. It prefers loose, well-drained soil and will not tolerate “wet feet.” If the soil does not drain, root rot can occur and your crop will fail during the winter. Most small growers prefer placing a layer of straw down after the garlic is planted to aid in weed prevention.

There are two main types of garlic – softneck and hardneck. Typically, softneck varieties prefer warmer climates, and hardnecks need colder climates. The main difference is that hardneck varieties form a flowering stalk and softneck varieties do not flower. If you see a beautiful braid of garlic, it is softneck. You cannot braid hardneck garlic because of its hard, flowering stem. It’s a good practice to break off the flowers after the first curl from the hardneck varieties to send all that energy to the bulb.

Read more at the UT Gardens’ site.

The UT Gardens includes plant collections located in Knoxville, Crossville and Jackson, Tennessee. Designated as the official botanical garden for the State of Tennessee, the UT Gardens are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The Gardens’ mission is to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through garden displays, educational programs and research trials. The Gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public.

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