Q: I want to grow garlic for fall. What do I need to know?
Garlic is a crop that overwinters in our mild B.C. climate, which means you plant in early fall and harvest the following July. We recommend you pick up bulbs for planting at West Coast Seeds or your local farmers market.
Hardneck varieties are preferred by B.C. growers as they are hardier when it gets cold, and they produce much-coveted scapes – the edible flower stalks of hardneck garlic. These delicacies are typically harvested in June and can be sautéed, pickled and incorporated into pesto. This means your garlic crop has two harvests: the scapes and the bulbs. Garlic prefers a sunny location and compost-enriched soil.
Once harvested, garlic can be cured and stored for the winter. If you start off growing a healthy cultivar and your crop is successful, you can split your crop and save some bulbs for the next planting.
Samantha Philips is an urban farmer for hire with Victory Gardens/604-377-5140.