Growing Good Garlic

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Growing Good Garlic

Post  Blossom on Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:28 pm

First off itís important to select the right garlic for your growing conditions. There are three main types of garlic. These types each have sub-types, each with their own named varieties.

Elephant garlic large cloves and very mild flavour.
Softneck garlic good keeper, good for plaiting, best for subtropical climates.
Hardneck garlic is ideal for cold to temperate climates, has a stronger flavour, but doesn't store as well as softneck.

Whichever type you plant they will all have the same basic requirements: fertile, well-drained, weed-free soil. Raised beds or large containers are good. Garlic likes to have loose, crumbly soil so with a no dig bed it is really going to be worth giving it at least a forking of the top 10 cm to loosen the soil , then break it up with a hoe and level it out. You can add compost to improve the consistency but fork it in. Some people have had good results by mixing well rotted manure into their garlic bed before planting but I donít to this as it can overload the balance in favour of nitrogen which garlic only needs at the same proportion as phosphorus and potash. You can use a balanced all purpose garden fertiliser 10-10-10 if you can get it, mixed into the soil at a rate of 250g per meters of garden bed. Ideal soil will have a pH of 6.2 to 6.8.

For subtropical areas, a good chilling before planting is essential. The ground needs to be cool after planting. Planting in March as a rule of thumb is right, but if itís a hot autumn and night temperatures are not low enough to cool the ground, better to wait until April. Why not do a staggered planting each month for three months and see which does better for your area? You should store bulbs for planting in 10C degree temperatures for about nine months.

Only plant large cloves. Large cloves will produce large bulbs! Also, split the papery outer wrapping before planting or remove most of it and plant as soon as you do this, maximum time after splitting the membrane is 24 hours. This is why many crops fail!!! They dry out and refuse to grow. Plant root side down and pointed end up, 10 Ė 15 cm apart.

Garlic plants like to be planted fairly deep .I use a trowel to make a hold and put them about half a trowel depth. This would be about 5 cm. A weed-free garlic bed is essential to growing a successful crop, because the first shoots are quite delicate and weeds can quickly strangle them. I also mulch with barley straw or similar, before the emerge to suppress weeds but also to retain moisture. Over watering though will make them rot so less it best.

Hope this helps John.
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Fran on Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:48 pm

9 months at 10 C - is the exact temperature critical - have no idea what my fridge temp is exactly Smile
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Blossom on Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:41 pm

Most fridges are between 0 and 5 degrees. 10 degrees is the maximum storage temperature, which may be achieved outside the fridge in cold climates only and even then only for a short time, so most garlic will end up being stored around 4 degrees. Sorry it wasn't clear. i.e. don't exceed 10 degrees.
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Fran on Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:07 am

Interesting - never heard of storing for that long. And pH needs to be on the acid side by the sound of it. I will bear in mind about splitting the membrane. And plant deeper. This seems to vary with different things I've read - some say deep, others shallow.

I will chase down some softnecks for next year - will have to get onto it - anyone know where the best place to look is?

I appreciate all that info Blossom - thank you Smile
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  guzzigirl on Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:18 am

Fran wrote: I will chase down some softnecks for next year - will have to get onto it - anyone know where the best place to look is?

Diggers Club sell a variety of soft and hardneck garlic for planting.
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Blossom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:19 am

The main thing about planting depth is that the cloves are soft and exposure near the surface to sun and drying contitions delay or inhibit the sprouting. All you need to split the papery membrane is a sharp thumbnail. I do it just as I'm planting it, just sort of peel a bit back neat the point but not enough to expose the clove completely. I have no idea where I got this tip from, but I've always had good purple and elephant garlic.
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  me2u on Sat Jun 14, 2008 7:31 am

Hi all,
Thank you Blossom great bit of info, I will follow your advice and try again next year.I will do a ph test too as I have not done that yet.
I am pondering with the idea of growing some in a old poly-styrene box build up some soil mix with plenty of compost and maybe some searles 5 in 1 getting the ph right too.
Cheers J Very Happy

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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Blossom on Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:53 am

Sounds like a plant - it grows well in boxes because it doesn't need a lo of soil depth - make sure you have plenty drainage though and even put a bit of straw on top. I planted mine around St. Pat's day and it is growing nicely. I'll take a photo and post it later on.
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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  Lomatia on Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:37 pm

There is a little book called "Onions and their Allies" which has a pic of a range of bulbs held at different temperatures. Certainly the cold helped to produce the larger bulbs and conversly the elevated temps smaller bulbs.

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Re: Growing Good Garlic

Post  me2u on Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:30 pm

Hi All,
Well I checked the PH and found it to be around 5.5 as far as I can determine anyway,all a matter of colour shades any how I tried to get some garlic from Diggers but no go due to Qld quarintine restrictions but I found some at Aspley Hyper market nursery and so I got 3 cloves some had already started to shoot so the ones that had not are residing in the bottom of the fridge for a few days.
I treated the patch with copius amounts of Agricultural lime as I found a site that stated that was the best to bring the PH up to my desired level.
Also Annette McFarlane advises on her web site that in our climate garlic can be still planted in June & July
so altogether I have 14 cloves already in the ground and my fingers are crossed.
Cheers J Laughing

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