A week after pulling the garlic, it was ready to be braided and sorted. Braiding is not technically necessary, but it makes storing easier, not to mention warding off vampires, and it looks so much nicer. I like to hang the garlic on a hook, but it can lie on a clean table with enough room for air to circulate. To braid garlic, just grab three similarly sized bulbs and braid them like hair. I usually pull the really small bulbs from the stalks and use those first in cooking. Garlic flavor benefits from about two months drying time, but fresh is really good too. Either way the taste blows away anything bought in the store. Garlic will store safely for about a year in a cool place out of sunlight. (I’ve seen shorter estimates of anywhere from four to eight months so this may vary.)
This year I had a big enough crop to use some of what grew for the replant in October or for a year worth of consumption. I plan to try a different type of garlic next year so I probably will not replant from what I grew. I am going to double what I plant and build a new garden bed for garlic. The most important thing to remember about garlic is to never plant from bulbs bought in a grocery store. Almost all garlic sold in food stores has a disease that will transfer to the soil and make it impossible to ever grow garlic again without heavy pesticide use and soil replacement. I would even be hesitant to use anything claiming to be organic from a store. That is why I get my garlic bulbs from the Territorial Seed Company.
To plant garlic just pull a clove from a head of garlic and stick it root side down in the soil about 1 1/2″ deep. Each clove will become a new plant so a pound of garlic bulbs should be more than enough for someone to try out. I plant before winter because I live in the South and it only snows about a week. Garlic can survive over cold seasons, but if you live further north, I recommend planting in late February or early March, about a month or so before the last frost. You’ll also be harvesting later than those of us all the way down in USDA hardiness zone 7B. You may want to do research specific to your hardiness zone. Here are some general guidelines you may find useful.