Garlic grows well when it experiences a period of cold. The most ideal time to plant garlic is fall. Garlic planted in fall matures in about 8 months. Garlic can as well, be planted in spring, and garlic planted during this season requires less than 8 months to mature though may not form bulbs. Follow along with this handy guide for detailed information.
1) GROWING GARLIC
Garlic is best grown in well-drained, fertile soil with the presence of the full sun as this gives the best-growing conditions for it. To grow garlic, select a part of the garden that receives nothing less than 8 hours of sun daily.
Garlic loves acidity and so prefers acidic soil but it also tolerates alkaline soil. It is best to grow garlic in slightly dry, acidic soil which is rich in organic matter. Try as much as possible to avoid growing your garlic in heavy, wet soil as this causes rot.
Space your garlic cloves to 4 – 6 inches apart in rows 15 – 24 inches apart. Growing your garlic on a site where it was grown over the previous 3 years can cause disease problems so take note.
2) WATERING GARLIC
Garlic produces the best bulb when it is well-watered and mulched through the growing season. Mulches help to suppress weeds that compete with water. Mulches likewise, help in conserving soil moisture.
If having dry weather, water garlic every 8 – 10 days. This helps to moisten the soil to a depth of 2 feet. Spread 2-inch well-rotted manure, leaf mold, garden compost, or other organic matter around the garlic plants. However, do not allow the mulch to come in contact with the plants’ leaves.
3) APPLYING FERTILIZER
Enough fertilizer is required by fall-planted garlic in spring. Garlic, whether planted in fall or spring, requires fertilizer in early summer. Ready-to-use 12-0-0 blood meal is recommended and it supplies garlic nutrient needs.
To fertilize your garlic using ready-to-use 12-0-0 blood meal, put on your gloves and sprinkle it evenly at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 square foot over a fall-planted garlic bed.
This should be done when the garlic begins actively growing in spring. The granules should be watered into the soil. Apply this fertilizer using the same rate to fall-planted and spring-planted garlic after 2 – 3 months. Ensure to read the instructions and the label carefully and follow them.
Read also: How To Grow Garlic At Home In Pots
4) HARVESTING & CURING GARLIC
After harvest, it is essential you cure your garlic as it helps prevent its spoilage when in storage. The appearance of well-developed cloves with thick, dry, and papery bulb skin indicates that the garlic is ready for harvesting.
The appearance of brown leaves is another indicator of maturity. Harvest your garlic as soon as all the leaves have withered. If at all you still want to wait, let it not be more than 2 weeks because the bulbs deteriorate in the soil.
Two inches from the base of the plant, push a garden fork into the soil and lever the bulbs out of the soil. Spread the garlic bulbs, alongside the leaves which are attached to them.
The bulbs should be spread in a single layer in a warm, shady, dry, and airy place. Within 3 – 4 days, the leaves will dry out and the garlic will be ready for storage. Store in a dry, shady place with a temperature of between 40°F – 60°F.
Read also: How To Grow Garlic From Scraps
I hope you find this article helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Living in South Africa? Learn how long it takes to grow garlic in South Africa.