Growing Garlic

Latest Update 26th December 2018.

Garlic
  • I keep the best of my previous years crop to provide cloves for the new season.
  • I can fit 44 cloves in 3 allocated rows and they produced plenty for our needs.
  • Blackfly (aphids) are a persistent problem, and vigilance is needed to ensure they don't get established and cause significant damage to the crop.  Organic horticultural oil used as a spray (diluted to suppliers recipe) smothers them.  Spray early in the morning before beneficial insects become active so they are not impacted. 
  • Garlic is harvested as soon as leaf tips turn yellow, and dried in bunches hanging freely from rafters in a shed or garage.  They will store like this for 9 months, but start to send out new shoots in Winter.
  • To avoid losing part of your crop, its worth freezing some of them as soon as they have completely dried out after harvest.  No special preparation is necessary and you can store them with stalks removed in resealable plastic bags in the freezer.  
  • As soon as potatoes are harvested in my crop rotation program, I start preparing the soil for a crop of Garlic.
  • They are planted early in April in Melbourne's, warm temperate climate. 
  • They are extremely nutritious and add great flavour to soups and casseroles, and they taste great when roasted with other veggies. 
Description
  • Variety:                                                    Italian Red.
  • Family group:                                           Allioideae.  
  • Crop rotation group:                                  Light Feeders.
  • Garden bed type:                                      Garden Ecobed.
  • Minimum sun per day:                              4 hours.
  • Plant spacings (centres x rows)                 100 x 100mm.
  • Planting depth:                                         50 mm. 
  • Weeks to harvest:                                    17 - 25 weeks.
  • Good companions.                                   Rose. apple. pear. peach. cucumber. pea.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm temperate
  • Geography:                                              Southern hemisphere.
Nutrition.
  • This food is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. 
  • It is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and selenium, and a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. 
  • More from nutrition data.self.com.
Maintaining Ecobed Productivity.
  • Check out my blogpage which explains how I maintain productivity in my Ecobeds.  It describes how soil is prepared prior to planting, the importance of rainwater in Ecobeds, how to regulate the sun's intensity and how to feed plants through their leaves.
Propagation Plan.
  • Check out my blogpage which tells you when to sow seeds.
Growing Instructions.
  • When preparing a bed for a new crop of Garlic, the remains of the previous crop including spent mulch and all above ground debris is removed top the compost.
  • In a no-dig garden like mine, it is sufficient to add a generous layer of sieved homemade compost on top of the soil followed by a similar layer of fresh organic straw mulch.  
  • I protect my young plants by also covering the mulch with a layer of light horticultural fleece.  I cut holes in the fleece where the new garlic cloves are to be planted
  • Sow the garlic cloves using a large dibber 100 mm apart along rows 100 mm apart with pointed side up and buried in the soil.  Water them in with a seaweed extract/rainwater solution (supplier's dilution rate).
Harvesting and Storage.
  • Harvest the garlic in October or when leaf tips begin to yellow.  Choose a warm sunny day and lift them from the soil carefully.
  • Leave them to dry for a short time after brushing off any soil.  Hang them in a cool dark place until required in the kitchen.
  • Retain a few of your best cloves for planting the following year.
Organic Pest Control.
  • Garlic plants, like most vegetables, are vulnerable to attack from certain pests in my garden.  My blog on "Controlling Garden Pests" explains a little about these pests and what to do to protect plants from them.  For details click on the appropriate link below.
  • Aphids (blackfly).
  • Slugs and snails.