How Do I Grow Garlic in Maine?

Uploaded by TheUniversityofMaine on 07.12.2010

[intro music] Dave Fuller: Hi, my name is Dave Fuller. I'm
with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and today we're going to talk about planting
garlic in Maine. Growing garlic in Maine is a really easy thing to do. More and more gardeners
are growing it. The time to grow garlic in Maine, to start planting, would be the fall.
The object is to plant the garlic to get the root system established, but not have the
top growing above soil do it doesn't get hit by the really cold weather that's coming on
later this winter. There are three basic types of garlic that
can be grown in Maine, although I really recommend growing the stiff necked garlic. And its so
called because it literally has a stiff neck or stem, which can't be bent.
This is the one that's most suitable for Maine. It's grown in Russia and China and other cold
climates similar to Maine. So this one grows the best.
You can see, it has a fairly large clove, typically four to eight cloves. So it has
fewer cloves that are easy to get the wrappers off than with the soft neck.
It also, on the top of this stem, has something called a scape, a flowering body. Because
garlic doesn't grow from seed, it's only from vegetative propagation, so we plant a clove
and we get a garlic bulb at the end of the season.
For garlic growers and other gardeners in general, if you're going to do one thing in
a garden, soil test. You can become immediately a better gardener if you soil test and follow
the directions. As I look at the soil test for this piece
of ground, I see everything is looking pretty good except for the soil pH is a little low.
So we're going to bring that up with some lime. We're going to put down some compost.
Everything else is pretty well set. And then we'll add a source of nitrogen in the spring
at two different times. That's going to get us a really good crop of garlic.
We're going to put down about an inch of compost on the section that we're going plant. It
should be well broken down. You shouldn't see a bunch of leaves and stuff in it. We've
got worms there, that's a good sign. Take all your plastic and things out. And
because the pH was low, we're going to put down some lime as well. This is pelletized,
which I like. It's not very dusty. About so. Then we'll just till it under. I like a spading
fork. It's a little easier to use. We go down about six to eight inches, just till that
You don't want to do too much of this. You don't want to beat the soil up, just enough
to turn things under. If you have some weeds in there, get them
out so that they're not competing with the garlic.
[pause] OK, so we take the garlic bulb and just break
it apart to get the cloves separated. A bigger clove will grow a bigger plant, a bigger bulb.
Take those, and we always plant point up. This is the root, the source of the roots
here. And plant it so that the top of the clove is covered by about two inches of soil.
Cover it. Your spacing should be about six inches apart, covered by two inches of soil.
If you want bigger garlic, have further spacing apart.
Then we want to mulch. I prefer a straw mulch because it doesn't have weed seeds. And the
purpose of the mulch is to keep the cloves from overheating, and it also protects against
super cold temperatures. Put that down to about two inches thick. Try not to get it
matted. [pause] Something like that. And then that's all good to go.
The great thing about garlic, you're in your garden last thing in the fall and this garlic
will be up in the spring. When the snow's gone, your garlic will be up.
So the garlic's in the ground. It'll start growing, putting out roots. The tops will
not start coming out. But the really great thing about garlic, you're
in your garden later in the year, and this thing will be up later in the spring. When
the snow's gone, the garlic will be up just like your flower bulbs, so you have something
to look forward to next spring. [music]