There are 15 different varieties of Garlic that will grow in Australia, yet 97% of the garlic we eat is imported from China. I will let you Google the quarantine process for yourself, it does make you think twice!
Garlic is really good for your health, my mum adds a couple of cloves to her Chooks water and I add a little to my fish food. It boosts the immune system and helps to fight of pests and parasites. Growing any food yourself is great for two reasons you know where it has come from and that it isn’t treated with anything nasty, as well as saving you money.
Garlic is really easy to grow too, in just five steps you can be vampire proof.
|1. Prepare! Pick the largest cloves to plant, the larger the clove the bigger the bulb. Each individual clove will produce one bulb. If you are really dedicated putting the clove in the fridge for a few weeks before planting helps to grow a bigger bulb.|
2. Location! Garlic likes full sun, well drained, rich soil. Garlic is a hungry root crop so lots of fertiliser and compost is needed. Turn the soil over to create a fluffy bed for your bulbs.
3. Timing! Ideally plant during the autumn. Sow them at a depth of about 2inchs and 4inchs apart. Rows should be 12inchs apart.
4. Love! Show your garlic some love, when the new shoots are about 15cm tall it’s time to start feed the garlic every two weeks with some liquid nutrients. Don’t let your bulbs dry out water regularly if there is no rain, however they don’t like to be kept wet. Weed regularly to ensure the garlic gets all the nutrients it needs.
|5. Harvest! Keep a record of when you plant so you know when to harvest, varieties vary in their maturity times. Pull one bulb if it is ready then harvest the rest. Hang in a dry place out of the sun to dry out for a couple of weeks and once the bulb is papery and crinkled you are good to go.|
Store your garlic in a dry place, keeping it in the fridge will reduce the flavour and putting it in a container can make it go mouldy. You can freeze raw or cooked garlic for up to 3 months.
It really is that easy to grow your own garlic.
|When to Plant*:||April, May and June|
|Where to Plant:||Sunny, well-drained soil|
|Soil Type:||Sandy soil is best, waterlogged or heavy clay will restrict roots, causing poor quality misshapen bulbs.|
|Watering:||Regular watering will increase the crop and quality.|
|Compatible:||Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Parsnips & Tomatoes|
|Incompatible:||Asparagus, Beans, Brassicas, Peas & Potatoes|
*Based on Temperate Australian Climate
• Related to the onion and the lily.
• The fear of garlic is called alliumphobia.
• Ancient Greek and Roman brides carried bouquets of garlic and other herbs instead of flowers.
• The first record of a labour strike was by Egyptian slaves 5,000 years ago, who went on strike because they were no longer given garlic with their meals!
Edit: Margarita Fang shared a photo of her home grown garlic on our Facebook page:
"After reading your blog about growing garlic in Feb 2015, I followed the instructions, today I'm proud to show you my first garlic harvest 10 months later"
Well done Margarita!
N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.