Want to grow an easy crop that requires little to no care, and you never need to buy that crop again? Let’s not wait and start our journey of growing garlic. Even a beginner can easily learn how to grow garlic in the vegetable garden bed.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species of bulbous flowering plant that includes onions, shallots, chives, leeks, scallions, and ornamental Alliums. As garlic grows all over the winter, it is a good crop to keep your garden productive all over the year.
Even if you do not have any in-ground vegetable garden, you can still grow garlic in pots. Also, there are many types of garlic varieties available in the market. In this article, you will get a complete guide for growing garlic.
Choose What Type of Garlic You Want to Plant
Garlic is a very staple type of spice in every kitchen. Today, garlic has more than 600 cultivated sub-varieties all around the world. Many people still do not know about it, and when they do, they get surprised. Garlic has the tendency to grow sprouts, and supermarkets use sprout inhibitors to stop the growth.
Selecting the right garlic variant depends on your harvesting area and personal taste. There are three variants of garlic that can be a preferable choice for any garlic planters, and those are:
Hardneck garlic got its name from its stiff neck, and it usually has fewer cloves than soft neck garlic varieties. Also, they have a sharper flavor with a couple of variations in their flavor. Hardneck garlic is also the one that has a flower stock called a scape, which starts at the base of the bulb going through the neck, hence the name hard neck garlic.
It is also recommended to grow hard neck garlic in wintertime or cold season. They do better in Northern climates and they Here are hard neck garlic’s three distinct varieties:
- Rocambole: Rocambole variant of hard neck garlic is synonymously used as hard neck garlic as it is very common. These have parchment skin which is a bit thinner than soft neck garlic. Its thin-skinned bulbs can be peeled easily, they have distinctive curling, and they have the nickname “serpent” garlic because of their garlic scapes.
- Purple Striped Garlic: Every purple striped garlic has been stripped, but that is where the connection ends. Some garlic of this variant has extremely pungent and some mild taste. This garlic variant has its own two sub-variants called ‘Starbright’ and ‘Chesnok,’ which have a nutty flavor.
- Porcelain Garlic: This garlic variant has a plumb bulb that holds a few fat cloves of garlic. Porcelain is covered with thick external skin, which alone makes them a great choice for storing. Sub variants of porcelain garlic have ‘Romanian Red’ which is hot and has a tangy taste, and the other good choice is ‘Georgian Crystal’ with a mild taste.
Softneck garlic is very adaptable to any warm climate. This garlic is the one you are most likely to find in most grocery stores because it can be traveled and stored better than hardnecks. Here are two types of soft neck garlic that are a good choice to plant,
- Artichoke: This is very widely grown commercial garlic. It has concentric rows of cloves, and usually, it is very difficult to peel.
- Silverskins: This garlic has silvery-white skins, and it has many small cloves. Its flavor is stronger than Artichokes. Silverskins have a sturdy neck that can be effortlessly braided.
Recently the Elephant garlic has become quite a popular choice for harvesting. It is very big in size, which gave its name ‘Elephant.’ Being very big in size, it has a mild flavor and can be a great choice for diners who don’t like the overpowering taste of garlic.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Garlic?
Before we dive into the details, it’s essential to know the basics of garlic and how long it takes to grow. It takes at least 5 to 9 months for a small planted garlic clove to develop as perfect garlic to harvest.
How to Grow Garlic From Cloves?
Before you start planting the garlic bulb, you need to prepare the soil first. Remove any types of weeds fungus, fix the soil, and rate the surface to even it out.
Utilize a trowel to make a superficial trench in a straight line. It will help to use a planting line just like the picture, do not think much of getting it 100% straight.
How to Plant Garlic?
Garlic is a nutrient-packed powerhouse that is pungent, and it is very necessary for many recipes. Garlic is mostly planted during fall in many areas after all of the summer crops have been harvested.
If you are willing to plant in the fall, then plan the planting of garlic about 4 to 6 weeks before the ground freezes. Here are some things you have to follow to plant garlic,
Choose A Planting Spot and Prepare the Soil
Garlic requires a lot of full sun, although it may withstand partial shade if it isn’t for lengthy periods of time during the day or growing season. The soil should be crumbly and well-dug; Sandy loam is an ideal choice.
Before you include nutrients in your soil, you should have an idea of what is there already. Do a soil test with the help of the local county extension office if you haven’t done a single soil test before.
Ensure the soil is well-drained, and garlic cannot be cultivated in clay-based soils. Before planting the garlic, enrich the soil with compost and manure.
Get Fresh Garlic
Cloves are the ones that give us garlic, as they are the seeds of garlic. So firstly, buy fresh garlic from any grocery store or your preferred place. Select your choice of garlic from a store or local farmer’s market, or a farm stand.
The garlic bulbs you choose must be both fresh and of good quality. If at all possible, choose organic garlic to avoid garlic that has been sprayed with chemicals. Select garlic bulbs with big cloves that are fresh; soft garlic should be avoided.
Keep in mind that every clove will turn into a garlic plant, so decide accordingly. If you already have some sprouted garlic at home, that is fantastic to use. Garlic bulbs are also available for planting at nurseries. If you want to purchase a specific kind of garlic or receive information on local conditions for garlic, go to a nursery.
Plant the Garlic
Tear the cloves from a garlic head and make sure you are not damaging the cloves at their base and where they attach to the plate. If the base gets damaged accidentally, the garlic will not grow. Here are the steps you should follow to plant garlic successfully,
- Start by planting the larger cloves because the smaller cloves take up the same amount of room in the planting bed as the larger cloves, but they give much smaller bulbs.
- Push in every clove into the soil, and plant the cloves about 5 cm or 2 inches deep, with the tops pointing upward.
- Space the cloves about 20 cm or 8 inches apart for the ideal growing circumstances.
- Mulch over the cloves that have been planted. Hay, straw, dry leaves, compost, well-rotted manure, or well-rotted grass clippings are all good toppings.
- Top-dress the cloves with compost or fertilize them. Garlic that has been planted needs a complete fertilizer when planting.
- Make sure to fertilize once again in the spring if you plant garlic in the fall or vice-versa.
When to Water Garlic?
To get perfect growing garlic and reduce plant stress, you need to avoid underwatering or overwatering the garlic plants. Too much water can cause bulb rot and pests, and too little can stress out plants.
In the soil with an ideal drainage function, garlic needs at least a half-inch and one-inch water per week. If the rain is less than half-inch in a week, then use supplemental watering to fill up the difference.
It is best to water deeply once or twice a week rather than watering a little every day. In the winter, when the ground freezes or when the outdoor temperature is below freezing, you should stop the watering until the temperature rises again or the ground thaws.
If you are hardneck garlic, you can restrain watering after cutting out the scrapes. For softneck garlic, stop watering a week before you want to harvest.
When to Plant Garlic?
Mostly October is the best time to plant garlic, but depending on your location and atmosphere, you can plant sooner or later.
In the North, late September or October will be perfect for planting garlic. It needs to be done at least two weeks before the first winter of the season, and you should do it before the ground freezes.
October will be a perfect time in the South, but you can wait until November, December, or even January. However, it will be ideal for planting the garlic earlier in October than later.
Can you plant garlic in the spring?
Yes, you certainly can plant garlic in the spring. It is best to plant garlic early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
Which Soil is the Best for Growing Garlic in A Container?
When you have to learn how to grow garlic in pots, make sure you are aware that this method’s success depends on several things. But the most important thing on which growing garlic in a container depends is the choice of the soil mix for the job. Garlic requires a well-drained mixture of soil, or else the cloves may get rotten.
During winter, garlic can get rotten if you get a lot of precipitation. Fertile soil is also preferable for the garlic because they are usually heavy to support the expanding heads and tall plants during spring and summer.
It is recommended to mix compost with high-quality potting soil at the ratio of 25:75. That means every 1 cup of compost should be mixed with every 3 cups of potting soil. Purchase a whole compost bag if you do not make your own. You can save money by following any DIY potting soil recipe to mix your own version from scratch.
Top Problems of Growing Garlic and Solving
Growing your own vegetables is an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience, but it can be annoying as plant diseases and pests are everywhere. Garlic is a relatively easy to grow vegetable, but the top problem is the following issues of garlic here are some,
Birds, especially pigeons, can eat freshly planted garlic cloves or eat recently germinated plants from the garden. Shield the planted area with nets or horticultural fleece right after sowing, and don’t remove the protection until the young plants are at least 5cm tall.
Onion White Rot
Onion white rot is undetectable until it is too late; its 1st sign is the yellowing process, wilting foliage, and it happens when it is harvest time. There will be fluffy white fungus on the bulb’s base alongside tiny black growths. In bad-case scenarios, the bulb will be rotten and black.
The onion white is a soil-borne type of disease, which means there is no control, and it can continue for years. Try to avoid the spreading around your garden by getting it on your tools and boots. Dig up every infected plant and burn or bin them, do not include them in your compost heap.
You should be able to salvage some edible crops, but they will not store pretty well. So in the future, harvest garlic in containers and virgin soil that is not from the garden.
Leek rust is a common fungal infection caused in wet weather, and it can also affect garlic. Orange-colored pustules pop up on the leaves during summer, which eventually starts to die back. Even though the affected garlic bulbs are very safe to eat, they’re not great for harvesting.
To stop spreading the disease and consume them, you have to get rid of the plant, burn or bin it, but do not mix them into your compost heap. Also, avoid planting garlic, onions, and leeks in the same area for three years straight. Select a garlic variant that has resistance to rust.
Nematodes and Mites
In garlic and onion plants, bulb mites often infect plants. The contaminated plants will be shorter than the noncontaminated plants, which you can easily pull out from the soil because of their damaged root structure.
Even the tiny roundworms come from the soil and destroy roots and bulbs. If your plants lack strength or the leaves look bloated, nematodes might be the reason.
It is not easy to control these issues; that is why gardeners mostly tend to move into other garden areas for some years to starve the pests out.
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