Garlic is an Allim (onion) family closely related to onions, shallots and leeks. It grows in various parts of the world and it is very popular ingredient used in cooking for its strong smell and taste. Garlic is also used for medicinal purpose as it has a lot of health benefits.
To get the best garlic is to plant at the right time. Best time to plant garlic is mid-autumn or early spring. Plant garlic four to six weeks before the ground freezes in your area. Plant close to the autumn to grow best.
Garlic is usually called a bulb and each segment is called clove. In each bulb there will be 10 to 20 cloves. Garlic has high sulfur compound called Allicin which gives the most health benefits. Growing garlic is very easy and inexpensive. It comes in different varieties in size, shape, taste and color. There are two subspecies of garlics one is hard necked and other one is soft necked garlic. Hard necked garlic are the original garlics grown by growers.
Before planting garlic prepare the soil. Choose the best variety of garlic to grow according to your region. Garlic prefers well-drained, rich loamy soil with lots of organic materials. Avoid clay soil as garlic won’t grow well. Add compost, manure and nutrients to the soil and make sure the soil has a good drainage before you plant garlic. Soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral. Choose a best location where they can get direct sunlight or partial shade will also do. Garlic grows well in a wide range of climates, very hot or humidity region.
Growing from Seed
Garlic seed is a clove of garlic, each clove produce a new bulb. Buy garlic from store or from your local market. Make sure you buy fresh, quality, organic and large garlic bulbs. Choose the strong clove and avoid the soft one. Remove the cloves from the garlic plate carefully without damaging the base of it.
Plant the clove directly into the soil pushing them about 2 inches deep. Make sure you plant the clove tip upward the soil. Plant the cloves into row giving space about 8 inches apart.
Once planted the cloves into the soil cover the soil with straw, mulch, dried grass clippings and leaves. Sprinkle litter water above them to wet the soil. Water them an inch of water every week during growing period. It will take 4 to 8 weeks to grow depending upon the climate and the variety of the garlic.
Garlic need balanced fertilizer to grow healthy. Apply organic fertilizer which contains base nutrients NPK or use seaweed mix with fish emulsion mix into a gallon of water and apply on garlic. Clip off the flower so that the plant can concentrate more on bulbs. Harvest garlic when you see the leaves turn yellow brown. Carefully dig up each bulb without breaking the stalk from the bulb. Once you harvest the garlic tie them in a shaded dry area or in your garage for about six weeks.
Growing in Containers
Choose best container for planting garlic. The container should be at least 8 inches deep and has a good drainage system. If you are willing to grow more garlic choose the big wider container. Prepare soil mixing potting soil with your garden soil. Keep the ratio as 3:1 of soil to potting mix. Fill the container with soil leaving an inch from the top of the container.
Once you prepared the soil, start planting the clove deep into the soil pushing the cloves at least 4 to 6 inches deep. Sprinkle the water, making the soil wet but not soggy. Allow the water to drain well before you water them.
Place the pot where it can get at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. Best place to keep is kitchen window sill. If you are not able to provide them the natural light then you can place them user grow lights. Garlic will take 8 to 10 months to fully mature. Once the leaves start to dry, harvest your garlic. Store your garlic in a dry place and use them whenever you required.