For many people, garlic is an essential ingredient in the kitchen. A good reason to plant it in your garden, because you can only be sure of its origin and quality if you grow it yourself.
Grow garlic in your own garden is not difficul,- if you get the right locatio. Garlic grows well in warm, loose soil in a sunny location. Somewhat windy locations are ideal, since the garlic fly (Suillia univittata), the greatest enemy of the aromatic allium, can usually do no harm here. Wet and heavy soils, on the other hand, are not suitable. Garlic roots shallowly, so sandy, humus-poor soils are also not ideal because of the risk of drying out.
What you need to know about planting garlic
When to plant garlic?
Autumn and spring are suitable dates for planting garlic. The cloves of winter garlic planted in the fall produce larger bulbs, but usually the plant protection problems are also greater, because the garlic fly has more time to cause mischief. Bed maintenance, including weed control, also naturally takes more time due to the longer cultivation period. Therefore, especially for beginners, the non-hardy spring garlic is recommended, whose cloves are set from mid-February to mid-April and produce tubers ready for harvesting by the fall. They are somewhat smaller than those of winter garlic.
Garlic cultivation: plant bulbils or cloves
There are two common ways to grow garlic: either plant the cloves or the small bulbils that garlic develops at the top. In the first year, the bulbils develop into so-called roundlings, and in the second year they become whole bulbs. So you have to wait two years after planting until you have tubers ready for harvesting. Garlic grown from bulbils is more robust and forms larger bulbs. In addition, all the garlic cloves can be consumed, because you do not need to save seedlings for the new season, otherwise you need about one-fifth of the cloves.
In the spring, either set the bulbils immediately at the right distance, about 10 cm (4 in), or plant them more densely with a distance of about 3 cm (1.2 in), and then singling them. By the end of July, the young plants have retracted their leaves. Now remove the resulting roundlings from the soil and store them in the shade and dry until they are planted again in the fall. Then they are put again in the row at a distance of 10 to15 cm (4 to 6 in), and with 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 in) row spacing.
Plant the garlic cloves in mid-September to early October or in the spring from mid-February to mid-March with the bulb base down about two to three cm (0.8 to 1.2 in) deep in the soil. Keep the same planting distance as for the bulbils. It is recommended that the cloves be placed at a slight angle in the planting holes to prevent root rot. For later planting dates, it is a good idea to start the cloves on damp kitchen paper in a bright area at room temperature, this will help them grow faster in the garden bed.
Step by step: how to plant garlic correctly
Plant your garlic in a harvested potato or bean bed, for example. The bed is first cleared of weeds and loosened with a cultivator. Then fertilize the soil with about two liters of compost per square meter and rake it in well.
Stretch a planting line
A planting line ensures that the row of garlic later becomes straight.
Detach garlic cloves
Now, as a planting material, detach the daughter bulbs, called cloves, from the central mother bulb.
Put garlic into the bed
The cloves are inserted into the prepared bed about 3 cm (1.2 in) deep at a distance of 15 cm (6 in). The garlic is then usually ready for harvesting from the end of April, depending on the weather.
Fertilization and care of garlic
Always grow your garlic as far away from onions, leeks and chives as possible, as all plants can be attacked by the leek leaf miner fly. Aside from this pest and the garlic fly, however, it is quite resistant to disease and pests. Garlic is also an excellent intercropping partner for strawberries and is a very undemanding medium feeder. If the soil is supplied with two to three liters of compost per square meter during bed preparation, the plants’ nutrient needs are largely met. In the main growth phase until the end of May, they can be fertilized once or twice with weakly dosed nettle liquid manure. Watering should be moderate and without wetting the leaves. Winter garlic should be chopped in early spring and twice during the growing season. However, the plants also like very much a soil mulched with straw.
When can you harvest garlic?
From the end of June, the foliage and stems of garlic turn from green to yellow. As soon as two-thirds of the plant is yellow, usually in mid-July, the bulbs should be taken out. When harvesting garlic, they should not be open yet, otherwise they will fall apart and the exposed cloves will not last long. After you pull the plants out of the ground, it is best to store them for a few days suspended in a dry and shady place. If garlic is stored properly, namely cool and dry, it will last for six to eight months.