How to grow garlic - tips and tricks
GROWING GARLIC WITH WEYHILL FARM
Whether you’re planting a paddock, patch or in a pot, growing your own garlic is fun and easy (most of the time!). Here are a few tips and how tos we’ve learnt along the way to get you started.
Ideally you’ll have a neutral pH, well-drained soil, some organic matter mixed in (compost or mulch) and a bit of manure or similar. If you haven’t had time to get your soil ready, don’t worry, just make sure it’s well-worked and nice and loose and should be fine.
Where to plant.
Full sun, or mostly sun, pots are OK and can be moved in smaller spaces like balconies to follow the sun. We have raised beds, so good if you have room, otherwise your veg patch is a great spot. If you’re planting in pots, potting mix is the way to go.
When to plant.
March or April is best. This will give you lots of leaf growth before winter and a bigger stronger plant. It will be better prepared for wind and rain, and when spring arrives, your plant will be more focused on setting down a nice big bulb than growing more leaves.
How to plant.
Choose a good sized bulb, that will help get your plant off to a great start. Break the cloves off and put in your soft soil pointy side up. Only plant 1-2cm below the surface. Shallow planting will mean when your bulb is forming it has room to expand easily. Space about 15cm apart. (We plant the big cloves and the smaller ones I plant in between the rows, you can use the smaller plants as green garlic for cooking in winter and spring.)
Mulch is great at keeping weeds away, but can hold too much water if you are in a high rainfall area, so if soil is staying wet and your plants are suffering, then pull the mulch off.
Feeding your plants.
A light feed with a natural fertiliser with nitrogen is best. Charlie Carp, worm wee, blood and bone, chook poo etc. Seasol is a good soil conditioner too and encourages organisms to make food for your plant. Stop feeding in spring, it can cause your plants to bolt. Don’t kill them with kindness, just a light feed every few weeks is fine.
As a rule, you should keep the soil moist. So if you picked up a handful, you should be able to roll it into a ball. Similar to apple crumble mix. Not too sloppy, not too dry.
Your garlic should take about 8 months to be ready to harvest. The outer leaves will die away, and you should harvest when you still have about 3-4 green leaves. The leaves form the skins on the bulb and you need those to dry down and protect it until it’s time to use. Check what’s going on below the ground by scraping a bit of soil away, you want your bulb to be at it’s biggest. Full visible cloves and sort of donut shaped. Try pulling by the stem but if they snap, then use a garden fork etc. to lift.
Collect your bountiful harvest, brush off any excess dirt, put into small bunches and hang somewhere well ventilated away from direct light to dry down. They should take about 3-4 weeks to fully dry, but they are delicious fresh so enjoy them straight out of the ground.
There are a few different techniques and lots of videos online that will show you. I’ll make one a bit later in the season and share.
Have fun, let us know if we’ve missed anything or you have any questions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers Julie and Stewart