In this article, I’m going to discuss how to grow garlic in South Africa. Let’s get started.
Information about garlic
Garlic (Allum Sativa) from the family of onions (Genus Allum) which are mostly used for food seasoning like every other species of this botanical family also have their storage organs in soil (bulbous plants). They include Ginger, Onion, Chive, Leek, etc. Garlic is a perennial plant that is also used for medicinal purposes.
What are Bulbous plants?
Bulbous plants are plants that have bulbs as their roots. These plants store their food in their storage organs, that is, the bulbs. This helps them survive and have access to food in situations where they can be deprived of food and nutrients.
These species of plants have favorable planting conditions in Africa and some other northern hemispheres of which china is part of, hence they produce the largest world’s supply of garlic. The whole part of their plant is edible and has a unique onion-like smell.
Can garlic be planted in South Africa?
Sub-Saharan part of the world has a successful climate environment for garlic. Garlic plants from time past traced to the 17th century have been found in South Africa. Specifically, the Egyptian White, Egyptian Pink, and Giant garlic are mostly planted in South Africa. The planting season may vary depending on the location you are but it is important to note that they prefer a sandy loamy ( moderately loose soil) during a cool and short winter and also in spring when the warm days are lengthened. The most preferable time to plant garlic is from February to May or October to December.
Read also: How To Grow Garlic At Home In Pots
How to get good garlic cloves and how many
The place or store you get your garlic cloves from determines the kind of harvest you are going to have coupled with the external factors like the soil and weather. First, you must find garlic cloves that are free from chemical preservation most preferably from fresh vegetable markets, seed stores,s or freshly harvested garlic. The scale of your expected yield will determine the quantity of garlic head you have to get.
A clove is planted each. To aid the growth of the clove, you can go through the vernalization process of soaking the cloves. clove grows and becomes one parent plant with multiplication and productivity. Generally, garlic has about 8-12 cloves on average and more depending on the size. Soft neck garlic has about 8-20 cloves while hard neck garlic has about 4-12 cloves. Additionally, hard-necked garlic can survive in more harsh weather, unlike the soft neck.
Read also: How To Grow Garlic From Scraps
Planting the garlic cloves
Now that you have the variety of your cloves ready, the Sandy loamy soil whether in your gardening pot or a large landmass, you start with preparing the soil making sure it is weed-free, compost fed, fertilizing with organic fertilizer or organic nitrogen. Ensure you loosen the soil with your hand or mini garden fork.
Next, you create spacing between 4-8 inches apart or 3 inches apart depending on the size of your pot The depth in a way relates to your weather condition. If you have a colder climate, you should make it deeper and if not you can use 2-3 inches burying the clove with its pointed side upwards. Smoothen the soil with your hand or rake.
Watering garlic is very easy. They do not require excess water that is why the soil has to be moderately loose to not have high water holding capacity and at the same time also do not dry out quickly.
Read also: How To Harvest Onions And Garlic
Harvesting your garlic
A sign that it is ready for harvest is when the garlic plant already has five and more leaves. These leaves are the number of layers the garlic head has. The harvest can also be extended to when two-3 of the lower leaves are getting brown and drying. Harvesting should be done in ways that protect the bulbs. First, you wait for the soil to dry, carefully dig up the soil and then uproot them skillfully.
Do we have to dry the harvested garlic
Yes you do, because this process allows the nutrients and energy from the leaves to move to the bulb. This is otherwise known as curing. To cure the harvested garlic, you dry them by laying them down or hanging them for ten days upwards not under the sun but in a well-ventilated area, you also have to ensure that the garlic harvested plants are well spaced. This process lasts till the wrappers and layers are properly dry to prevent them from decaying and getting spoiled quickly.
I hope that this article helps you in understanding how to grow garlic in South Africa. I will like to hear from you. Let me know if you have any questions.