Growing garlic

Much has been written about the health benefits of garlic, and the climate of southwest Idaho is excellent for growing garlic. However, if your only experience with garlic has been the store-bought variety at the supermarket, you don’t know what real garlic is!

Chesnok red garlic, just picked.

Chesnok red garlic, just picked.

Two things you must know, though, before you get started planting garlic:

  • garlic is closely related to onions (genus Allium), which is an economically important group of crops in Idaho, and it is therefore highly regulated to control plant diseases like White onion root rot. Garlic that you plant must be purchased from an Idaho certified grower. In our neck of the woods our preferred supplier has been My Dad’s Garlic in Rupert. In recent years many out-of-state suppliers have stopped shipping garlic to Idaho.
  • garlic comes in many varieties, and some may be easier to grow in your soil and some may appeal more to your palate. We have had good luck with both soft-neck varieties (inchelium red) and hard-neck types (Chesnok red). Fall is the preferred planting season (garlic in above photo was planted 10.25.2015).

Basic information about garlic varieties, growing, curing, shelf-life, and flavor are widely available on the Internet. One helpful guide can be found in the Potato’s catalog.