After seeing pictures of other gardeners' beautiful garlic harvests earlier this year, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at growing garlic, too. I especially wanted to plant some hardneck garlic so that I could grow and enjoy some delicious garlic scapes in addition to the better flavors of homegrown garlic. But I didn't realize that seed garlic would sell out so fast from reputable online vendors. I also didn't realize that shipping costs for seed garlic would be so expensive!
Long story short, I did not get around to buying any seed garlic cloves for hardneck garlic varieties this year. However, I wasn't about to let this deprive me of my garlic growing experience.
So I decided to take the frugal and late-to-the-game approach to growing garlic: I bought some plain garlic from the grocery store. Yep, the unknown softneck variety.
I took 22 of the best looking garlic cloves and soaked them overnight in some baking soda-and-water solution. The next day (Halloween!), I peeled the cloves, rinsed them in water and proceeded with planting them in the corner of one of my new raised beds. I planted them 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart in all directions. My designated garden fork (formerly known as a dinner fork in the kitchen) worked great for digging 4-inch deep holes for the garlic cloves. I will mulch this area with some straw next weekend.
I have no idea if any of these supermarket garlic cloves are going to grow and develop new garlic bulbs. But I do know that if I didn't try, I would never know. So here goes, my Great Garlic Experiment of 2010-2011!