Thursday, February 04, 2010
How to grow garlic
A garlic bulb is made up of many individual cloves (maybe as many as 15 or 20) and the garlic plants are grown from the individual cloves.
Garlic needs a garden site that gets plenty of sun and seems to grow best in light, sandy soils. They need plenty of manure dug into the soil before planting and they should be well watered in the early stages. But don't waterlog the soil because the plants will rot. Each clove should be planted upright, about 2.5 cm under the surface and about 10 cm apart, in rows at least 45 cm apart.
It has been traditional to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year but this year we will start planting towards the end of February and keep going into April.
Garlic is plant friendly and grows well in a flower and vegetable garden. It's great co-planting with many others and it does seem to help with pest control.
It will take six months for the garlic to mature and you will need to keep weeds under control to maximise your crop. We use no chemicals so hand weeding is the way to go.
Harvesting the crop
As your garlic matures, the leaves brown-off then fall over. This is the indication that it's time to harvest the crop. If you harvest too early the cloves will be small, too late and the bulb will split.
After picking, hang your garlic up to dry then gently brush off any dirt. Then enjoy the delicious results of growing your own garlic in your own garden.