Garlic grows well in most parts of California, and a garlic row a few feet long gives a good supply. A single bulb of garlic will start 12 – 36 new plants.
Plant it in fertile soil in the late fall, winter of early spring. Fall plants work best in our mild winter climate. Grow garlic the same way as you grow onions.
Garlic is a member of the Allium family (onions, leeks, chives), and like other bulbs, it needs a good long cold soak (since we don’t have winter) to go dormant and be ready to form bulbs when we plant it. Order your garlic as early as possible and store it in the vegetable crisper for 3 to 4 weeks before planting to assume good bulb formation.
Garlic come in two varieties, hard- and soft-neck types. Softneck types are generally better suited for warmer climates and have a spicier flavor than hardnecks. I have been primarily growing softneck types like Chilean Silver, Inchelium Red and Transylvanian. The Transylvanian produces extra large cloves. My source for garlic bulbs is Seeds of Change (http://www.seedsofchange.com).
Garlic can be planted in the spring or fall. Garlic is ready to harvest when 3/4 of the foliage has turned brown and collapsed. Use a garden fork to lift the bulbs from below to avoid bruising or cracking them or damaging the neck; this sort of damage results in poor storage.
Let the dug bulbs dry in the sun outdoors until the skins turn papery. You can braid the partially dried bulbs by the tops or remove the tops before storage.
Read the next article: How to Grow Greens.