5 P.M. INTERVIEW: Growing garlic

JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) -- We're talking about garlic with Trisha Wagner with Jackson County UW Extension because now is the time to plant garlic.

In Wisconsin, garlic should be planted in later summer or fall, usually within a week or two after the first killing frost. This will allow the roots to develop and shoots emerge from the clove but not grow above the soil by the first hard freeze. A period of cold is necessary for bulbing, so unless given a proper cold treatment prior to planting, most garlic varieties planted in the spring will produce weak shoots and poorly developed bulbs.

Garlic consumption in fact does repel mosquitoes. Garlic has also been promoted to treat colds, coughs, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, fungal infections, cancer, hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, roundworms and hookworms. Proponents advise eating a raw clove of garlic a day to boost the immune system. Recent scientific studies have shown that certain compounds in garlic prevent blood clot formation and may affect blood cholesterol levels.

Garlic does best in full sun in well-drained soil high in organic matter. Bulb expansion can be impeded in heavy clay soils, especially if they dry out. And supplemental moisture may be needed early in the season on light, sandy soils. Prepare the soil well before planting to provide a loose growing bed for bulb growth.

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