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Garlic

10/08/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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AP/Kathy Willens
I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. There's no two ways about it. People are passionate about garlic. Mong Lan once wrote, "stinking rose, the heady scent of you, tangy, spicy, most underrated year-round orb, I love you unadulterated and shiver once I bite you,". Garlic is easy to grow and now is the time to plant in your garden. Select either hardneck, softneck, or elephant garlic varieties. I like hardneck varieties, such as 'Russian Red', for their tasty scapes in summer. 'New York White' is a great softneck variety used for braiding and lasts long in storage. Elephant garlic has huge mild tasting bulbs that grow similar to softneck varieties.

To plant create a raised bed and amend the soil with compost. Well drained soil is a must so bulbs don't rot over winter. Break apart the bulbs and plant individual cloves, pointy side up 2- to 3-inches deep, spaced 4 to 6-inches apart. After a few hard freezes, mulch the bed with a 4- to 6-inch thick layer of straw. If a fall warm spell stimulates the garlic to sprout, don't worry, they will stop growing when it gets colder and the bulbs will regrow in spring.

Now for this week's tip, quarantine any houseplants you've moved back indoors this fall. Check them every few days for signs of aphids, mealybugs, and other critters and spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control them.

Note:  This will be the last Vermont Garden Journal for the season. I hope you've enjoyed them. I'll be back next spring with more ways to help you in the garden.

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