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Garlic is a well-known vegetable and used in many dishes. Most garlic lovers don’t really mind the bad breath it can give because it’s so tasty. Not only is garlic a really tasty vegetable, it’s also really healthy.
So read on and learn how to grow garlic in your backyard. You can even grow it in a container if you want to.
What is garlic?
Garlic is a member of the lily family, just like onions and leeks. The Latin name for garlic is Allium Sativum.
It grows underneath the soil level and forms a bulb filled with cloves.
The long green shoots it produces can be called leaves. They can also be flower stalks and these are called scapes.
where to grow garlic?
Garlic needs a fertile well-draining soil, specifically when you want to grow your garlic in autumn. A good amount of compost will help the plant survive the winter and thrive going into the summer.
Make sure the plants get plenty of sunlight, even during the winter period. As long as the greens stay alive, the plants can use all the sunlight they can get.
how to grow garlic in rows?
When growing garlic in rows, you can keep a distance of about 6 inches or 15 centimeters between two plants. This spacing makes it easy to weed between the plants and remove any scapes. You can easily fit several rows next to each other, just make sure you can weed between the plants and reach the scales when necessary. So don’t make the rows too wide.
how to grow garlic in the square foot gardening method?
Depending on the final size of the garlic bulbs, you can plant 4 garlic plants in one square foot or 9 garlic plants in one square foot.
When to grow garlic?
If you have mild winters, you can start planting the garlic cloves in January. Where temperatures go below zero for long periods, it’s better to start planting in October. Before the frost, the plants will take in all the nutrients they can and go dormant when the temperature drops. Once the weather gets better the garlic will start to grow again.
taking care of garlic
planting the garlic is really easy.
Make sure you know the bottom from the top so you don’t plant the cloves upsidedown. The pointy end is the top and the flat end is the bottom.
I personally plant the garlic bulbs so deep that I can still see the point in the soil. I then cover the soil with compost but I make sure the clove tips aren’t covered so the new growth sees the light as soon as it pops out.
The PH-value of the soil should be between 6.5 and 7 to have optimal growing conditions for garlic.
Use a good nitrogen fertilizer until the month of may. After this period the bulb has to thicken. A fertilizer with almost equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will do the trick. Don’t go overboard with nitrogen or the bulb may be stunted.
I personally fertilizer the garlic plants until they freeze. I fertilize them every two weeks with my self-made liquid fertilizer. The plants also get mulched with hot composted compost and I almost cover the cloves with the compost. By mulching heavily with compost, it takes a longer time for the garlic to freeze.
Garlic is quite a hardy plant but it is possible during the winter that some of the cloves don’t survive. There’s nothing much that can be done about that. Most of the times, a high percentage will survive and grow to be nice big garlic bulbs.
I must warn you if you grow your plants in pots. The pots can freeze and kill off the cloves quite easily as there is not much soil around the roots in a pot. You’d better grow your garlic in a greenhouse when growing in pots. As you can regulate temperatures a lot easier inside the greenhouse.
transplanting or planting
We only learn how to grow garlic from cloves so it’s not necessary to transplant the cloves. You can plant them directly in their permanent spot.
To harvest garlic, you can use a small shovel to loosen the soil around the garlic bulbs. Make sure you don’t harm the bulbs as this will drastically lower the time you can preserve the garlic bulbs.
If you’re working on the square foot method or if you use a lot of mulch on your soil, you should be able to remove the bulbs by hand.
garlic diseases and pests
Garlic doesn’t have real problems with pests, on the contrary, it repels quite a bit of pest bugs in the garden. So it’s a good plant to use for interplanting.
Botrytis rot will mostly only occur once you let your garlic dry. You won’t really have any problems with botrytis in the field. There’s nothing that can be done to stop this disease. Crop rotation is a good way to prevent the disease from occurring.
Fusarium basal rot/basal rot
The leaves will first start yellowing from the tip downwards.
The roots can become pink colored and will eventually start to rot. This will lead the plant to rot from the bottom up.
The disease needs high temperatures and moist to occur.
The spores can rest in the soil for many years.
white rot or sclerotial rot
Leaf tips will start to yellow and die back.
The bulbs will become soft and mushy as the whole plant dies off.
This disease needs cool temperatures and a dry soil.
With above information, you now know how to grow garlic like a pro.
I haven’t mentioned all the diseases, only the most common ones. If I come across a disease and I can take pictures of it, I will amend the article.
Don’t be afraid of the diseases I mentioned. I just want to be thorough in my articles. Most of the times, you won’t get into trouble when growing your garlic.
If you do get in trouble and you don’t know what to do, just contact me with some pictures and we’ll solve the problem if possible.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.