How to grow great garlic
Any way you slice it, garlic (allium sativum) is a winner. Not only is it oh-so tasty, it’s an antidote for a multitude of ills (Hippocrates prescribed garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions). Beneath each bulb’s tight papery sheath are several cloves, packing some serious fragrant and nutrient punch. Little wonder it’s a key ingredient in just about every cuisine on earth.
Why grow your own?
While growing your own garlic does require patience, it’s super easy to grow and you’ll be rewarded with fresh, organic garlic. Imported garlic is often sprayed with nasty chemicals and sadly there are very few garlic growers left in Australia.
Make sure to choose good quality, organic garlic. Non-organic cloves are sprayed with sprout inhibitors to prolong storage, and they’ll rot in the ground before they sprout. We have organically-grown Australian white and purple dormant bulbs instore, ready for you to plant.
Did you know?
Where to grow garlic
Garlic will thrive in your garden bed or a large tub (just make sure it has sufficient drainage).
Garlic loves rich organic soil, so make sure you dig in well-rotted manure or blood and bone. The soil should also be light, airy and friable. If the soil is too heavy, the bulb will be poorly shaped.
Choose a sunny or partly-shaded spot.
How to plant
Take each clove and plant five centimetres deep, with the pointy end facing up. Keep cloves 8 to 10 centimetres apart, in rows about 60 centimetres apart. Done!
During foliage growth and flowering, give your garlic plenty of water. Once the foliage starts to die off, reduce watering. Stop watering altogether a few weeks before harvest, to allow the garlic to become dry and firm, before pulling out of the soil.
Garlic likes to be fed, so fertilise throughout the growing season with a fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen, like blood and bone. A layer of mulch will help keep moisture in and weeds out.
Aphids like garlic leaves and flower buds. To combat these tiny pests, simply squash them with your fingers.
Garlic takes five to six months to mature and is ready for harvest when the leaves turn yellow. Don’t wait until the tops have completely died to harvest, as the head will break up into individual cloves. Leave your garlic out to dry undercover for 2 to 3 weeks, until the skin turns papery and dry. Make sure to save a couple of bulbs for your next planting!
Store in a cool, dry spot. If you want to proudly display your garlic (and let’s face it, why wouldn't you), braid your garlic and hang it up in your kitchen. Bulbs store better whole, not as individual cloves, and can last for weeks, if not months.
Want to grow more vegies in your garden, but not sure if you have the space? Check out our article on growing vegetables in small spaces.