How to Plant Garlic and Grow It as a Perennial

So the garlic is all planted, finally. I put approximately 6000-7000 cloves in the ground.

Some were planted in a ring around our fruit trees, and strawberries for their aromatic protection against pests. Most were planted in large blocks with vacant strips in between, so that vulnerable crops can grow within a protective border of garlic.

Usually, garlic is planted in the fall, and harvested the following year, in mid-to-late summer. This cycle is then repeated year after year, which is very time consuming and tedious.

I’m going to try growing our garlic as a perennial patch, so that I won’t ever have to plant garlic again unless we buy more seed stock to expand the patch, or plant more protective borders around fruit trees etc.

I will still cut all the premature flower heads but instead of pulling up all the plants, selling most and replanting enough to keep our stock up, I’ll pull only the biggest plants, leaving the rest in the ground to divide themselves and create more plants.

Every few years in the spring I’ll scatter some manure or coffee grounds over the patch, and every fall I’ll spread a thick layer of hay or tree leaves to suppress weeds. If weeds start to take over an area during the growing season, I’ll simply cover them with leaves or woodchips, making sure not to bury the garlic plants if possible.

The beds will never be tilled or dug. They were prepared simply by covering the undisturbed ground with about 2 inches of compost, manure, or coffee grounds, pressing the cloves into this, and covering with several inches of hay. No back-breaking labour or soil disturbance required.

I’ve tried this with a small garlic patch for the last few years and it’s worked very well so I’m confident that it will work on a relatively large scale. I’m looking forward to saving a lot of time on unnecessary tasks.

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