Planting garlic in Sun Valley

Ketchum and Sun Valley have started to see the first signs of spring.  The massive snow piles are melting, the sun is becoming more intense and temperatures are warming.  Spring is on its way to the Wood River Valley!  

This time of year makes us anxious to get outside and play in the dirt.  We love gardening and are excited to start the 2016 growing season.  While our mountain climate delays the ground thaw (longer than other parts of the country), we love starting with a few bulbs in the spring.  

Garlic is our favorite.  You can never have too much garlic!  Garlic is one of the easiest things to grow.  You can plant in pots, in the ground or even empty milk jugs.  Really, any container will do.  Regular water and fertilizer are all it needs.  

The first step is buy garlic bulbs.  Freeze the bulbs or leave outside in the cold for a few days, to simulate winter.  Next, separate the cloves, but do not peel them.  Each clove will become a head of garlic.  Then, add some organic garden soil to a container that has drainage or plant in the ground.  Caution: do not buy potting mix, it will not work.  It needs to be potting soil.

Now for the hard part. Take your be-gloved finger and poke a hole in the potting soil that is approximately twice the depth of the garlic clove.  Then, place the garlic clove pointy-side up in the hole. Cover with dirt. Water. Fertilize occasionally. Wait.  

A week or so later you will have some shoots sprouting.  Each clove will bloom like a chive plant.  Then a curly green with a bulb in the green will shoot off.  Snip this and use in your cooking.  This will allow the most nutrients to go towards the growing of your bulb.    

Harvest your garlic cloves in late July or early August when the greens turn brown and the tops fall over. Store in a paper bag, in a dark, cool and dry place like onions and potatoes.  Enjoy for months to come.

Once you've had fresh, home-grown garlic, you will never go back.