Can you imagine whipping up a pasta dish without garlic! Growing Garlic in your garden will make sure this never happens.
Garlic also makes a great companion plant in your garden and your own fresh organic garlic will be much better than the often bleached garlic you find in the shops (can you believe they do that, insane but true).
OK so now you're sold let's learn how to grow garlic.
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Growing your own Organic Garlic is much easier than having to remember to take a garlic supplement. It contains both antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it’s great for boosting the immune system and has so many other beneficial properties.
Garlic's botanical name is Allium sativum. Garlic vitamins: Beta Carotene, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folate, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Manganese and Selenium. Whew!
Always buy the best quality available. In Australia our garlic has a purple tinge, whereas some imported garlic is bleached white. I don’t want those chemicals in my bolognaise thanks. Also, imported Garlic can be treated with chemicals to inhibit growth so will not grow in your garden.
Companion Planting for Growing Garlic
Plant garlic next to roses to keep the aphids at bay. Aphids love roses so you need to keep them under control. Try planting a clove of garlic when you plant your rose bush. The aphids won’t like the taste of these garlic roses!
Before Growing Garlic have a look at my Companion Planting List to find out their bad buddies and good buddies prior to planting.
There are two types: 'softneck' varieties, these have no flower stem and produce large bulbous heads. This is the most common variety found at the store. Softneck varieties store well. The others are the 'hardneck' varieties, these bear a flower stem and produce garlic heads but these aren’t as good for long-term storage.
How to Grow
Plant in Autumn (Fall), Plants make the most of their leafy top growth during the shorter days of the year. Give them a sunny spot on the veggie patch. Garlic is suitable for container gardening, give them a large pot as they will get quite tall.
Dig in some Organic Compost prior to planting or use a good quality potting mix if planting in a container.
Break the bulbs into cloves and plant each clove a few centimeters deep in well drained soil. Space them 8 to 10 cm apart with the pointy end up.
You can grow garlic in both cool and warm climates. The bulb does need a period of cold in winter to form good cloves so tropical climates aren't really suitable. If you are in a warmer area you can chill your garlic bulbs in the fridge for around six weeks prior to planting.How to look after
Water much the same as most veggies in the vegetable garden. Don’t water them just before harvest in case of fungal disease.
Fertilize when planting and again during the growing season for a boost.
When to Harvest
Late spring to early summer is harvest time. The foliage will start to turn yellow and die off. Dig up your plants (don't pull as you may damage the bulbs) when there are still about four green leaves on the stem. Brush off the dirt and hang them to dry in a cool, airy place for around two weeks so the skin can harden. You can store it for up to 6 - 7 months.
Did you know that a fear of garlic (and other highly pungent plants?) is called Alliumphobia Allium being the family that Garlic belongs to.