As you are eating your Summer harvest of Garlic, don’t forget to put aside a few cloves from each bulb, for planting in Winter.
Garlic bulbs are grown from individual cloves like the ones in the picture above. With the right growing conditions, each clove planted goes on to produce a single Garlic plant with a bulb containing as many as 20 cloves.
Which makes growing Garlic wonderfully self-sustaining.
When we first started out with our edible garden, we only had a few Garlic cloves from a few bulbs a friend had given us to plant.
But each year, as we have eaten our way through the resulting harvest, we break off 2-3 cloves from each bulb and store it away for planting in Winter.
As the years have passed, our clove stash has grown bigger and every Winter we are able to plant more and more Garlic.
Eventually, we should have more than enough cloves to plant to suit our needs.
But if you consider that for every 1 clove planted you triple your investment for next years planting, the returns on this delicious vegetable are fantastic.
Saving Garlic Cloves For Planting
Propagating Garlic is incredibly quick and easy. You don’t need any special tools or growing equipment. Just some good quality, healthy Garlic bulbs and a pair of hands.
You can save your Garlic cloves either from your own harvest, or from store bought produce. Just make sure that if you are using store bought you buy Garlic that has not been sprayed. Certainly the Chinese Garlic we get here has been sprayed so it shouldn’t be touched. If you are going for store bought, look for the Organic options.
When selecting cloves to save, choose 2-3 of the largest, plumpest cloves from the outside of the bulb. While it’s tempting to reserve these for eating, the size of the clove you plant definitely contributes to the size of the bulb you get in Summer so don’t keep all the fatties for your cooking. Get some in the ground.
Don’t peel your cloves and keep as much of the papery covering on the cloves as possible. This will help preserve the cloves.
Store your cloves in a dry, dark spot. I keep mine (with all of my seeds) in a bowl in our warming cupboard under the stairs.
Wait patiently for the longest day in Winter to plant your saved up Garlic cloves. Discard any cloves that have disintegrated or developed any mold or black spots.
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The more seed you can save, the more money you save, and the more cost effective your edible garden becomes.
When propagating Garlic is this cheap and easy, why wouldn’t you?