Plant, Care And Harvest Garlic
Planting garlic in your own garden – with these instructions you will succeed step by step from staking to harvesting.
It is impossible to imagine the kitchen without it and is considered an absolute must in most countries of the world! Garlic (Allium sativum) originates from Asia and is very popular worldwide as a spice in cooking. As a relative of kitchen onion, leek, the “bulb” of garlic is incidentally also an onion. In this country, garlic cloves are usually imported from other countries, but garlic tastes best fresh. Even in our latitudes, the cultivation of the easy-care garlic plants works very well. The following tips will help you to successfully plant garlic in your garden.
For planting garlic, there are a few things to consider so that the cultivation is successful and a decent harvest can be expected.
The Ideal Location
Garlic plants are not considered to be particularly demanding, but the right location should still be chosen when planting (also known as a stake in the trade) the garlic cloves. For cultivation, the soil should be loose and rich in nutrients, sandy loam soil is ideal. For the plant, it is very important that rainwater and irrigation water can drain away. Therefore, waterlogging should be avoided at all costs. Permeable soils with a high sand content are therefore well suited for growing garlic.
Heavy soils with a high proportion of clay or loam are less suitable. For optimal growth, a sunny location should also be selected. Garlic can be grown wonderfully in mixed cultivation, as its intense fragrance keeps unwanted pests such as aphids away. Tomatoes, strawberries, and carrots are particularly suitable as neighbors.
However, close attention should be paid not to grow leeks or onions in close proximity to garlic plants, as these close relatives are attacked by the same pests. It is therefore also essential to consider crop rotation: Garlic should never be planted in the same area where leeks (Allioideae) were growing the previous year.
These site characteristics are important for garlic cultivation:
- Loose, well-drained, and nutrient-rich soil.
- No waterlogging (such as in very clayey soils)
- Sunny location
- In mixed cultivation with tomatoes, strawberries, carrots
- Do not plant near leeks or onions
- Not as an aftercrop of leeks
Garlic plants can also be planted in pots without any problems. As a shallow rooter, a depth of 10cm in the pot is sufficient for successful planting. It is important that the water can drain well. Essentially, otherwise, the same conditions apply to this cultivation as in the bed.
Garlic Varieties – Regular Or Cut Garlic?
When choosing a suitable garlic variety, it should first be noted that garlic cloves from the supermarket are only suitable for cultivation in the garden to a limited extent. The reason is as follows: the varieties you can buy there are usually imported from warmer and sunnier countries. Accordingly, they are not used to our cooler climate in this country and do not grow optimally. Suppliers of seeds or bulbs, therefore, have a manageable number of varieties for your own garden. A distinction must be made between normal garlic, where the cloves are used and cut garlic (Allium tuberosum), where the green of the plant is harvested.
Garlic is a plant that is best grown from cloves. Garlic cloves can be set twice a year, spring and autumn. For staking, the cloves are placed at a distance of 15-20 cm at a depth of 3-4 cm. In this case, the ideal distance between rows is 30 cm. Fertilization is not strictly necessary for the low-maintenance garlic plant. Nevertheless, for improved nutrient supply, it is recommended to prepare the soil with green manure and compost application before planting. Only already dried garlic cloves should be used for staking to prevent rotting. The use of already sprouting cloves, which are already green from the inside, also shortens the cultivation.
The following tips will help in successfully staking garlic:
- Staking in spring and/or fall.
- Preparation of the soil with green manure and compost application.
- Spacing of 15-20 cm, depth of 3-4 cm, row spacing 30 cm.
- Pre-planted cloves come to maturity faster
Care Of Garlic Plants
In principle, the garlic plant is very easy to care for. The application of fertilizer is not absolutely necessary during the vegetative phase of the plant. Although nitrogen fertilizer increases the yield, it weakens the taste. To help garlic grow slowly in the early stages, weeds in the bed should be removed regularly as they compete with the garlic plant for nutrients. Garlic is also easy to manage when it comes to water: It should be watered sparingly, as the aromatic plant is sensitive to overwatering. Watering should only be done on very hot days.
Care of garlic plants is very easy if these points are taken into account:
- Fertilization during growth is not necessary
- Regular removal of weeds
- Watering little – preferably only on hot days
The timing of garlic harvest depends on when the garlic cloves were staked: When planting garlic in the fall, you can enjoy the first fresh garlic bulbs as early as July. If planted in the spring, it takes a few weeks longer to ripen, so that the harvest time is from August into the fall. It is recommended to harvest the garlic as soon as the upper third of the plant begins to wilt. To harvest, pull the whole plant out of the ground. Care should be taken not to damage the bulb, as this will reduce its shelf life.
In dry weather, the freshly harvested garlic can dry on the bed. To store garlic, it is advisable to braid the green of the plant into a braid and hang it together with the bulb in a well-ventilated and dry place. Garlic can be stored longest in a dark and cool place. A small hint: It should not be stored in the refrigerator because it loses its aroma after a few days! As an alternative, garlic can also be pickled in oil to preserve the aroma.
Diseases And Pests Of Garlic
Garlic can’t exactly be called disease-prone – on the contrary, its smell drives away pests like aphids, making it the perfect neighbor in a mixed culture. Nevertheless, in rare cases, even the otherwise robust garlic can be attacked by onion flies. Their larvae are typical pests of onion crops. The flies lay their eggs in the garlic plant in May, and the larvae then eat their way through the plant. Safe protection is provided by protective nets, through whose tight meshes the flies cannot pass.
Other problems can occur in very rainy summers or when waterlogging occurs. These conditions increase the likelihood of rot in the root zone as well as fungal infections. Affected plants should be removed from the bed. As a rule, however, problems with garlic rarely occur and cultivation is very easy.
Garlic is well known and popular, but do you know the cut garlic? We introduce you to the cut garlic and explain everything you need to know about cultivation, care.