July 25, 2022
Garlic is a plant that prefers a cool, dry climate, but you can still grow it further north. For growing in warmer climates, plant as the weather cools down about mid-autumn onwards and for colder regions, you look to plant in spring.
Be sure to choose the variety suitable for your region, by checking with your local garden retailer. Garlic that has been imported from overseas often will not sprout as it has been treated for pests and disease, which can inhibit reproduction plus their roots have been cut off to import. Your local garden retailer will have cloves that still have their roots intact and are disease and virus free. Alternatively, you can buy from an organic greengrocer, plant those and they should sprout easily. Many prefer to grow by cloves, noting these can still take up to eight months to mature, so it is a plant for the patient gardener. Many save a few larger cloves from the previous season to use as stock plants and replant. The bulbs do not develop into the individual cloves until just before harvest and you can tell when it is ready to harvest, which is when it has finished flowering and the leaves start to turn brown.
If you plant your garlic by seed, then it will develop into a small non-traditional looking garlic, smaller than a golf ball in the first year. The following season you can replant this out to form a traditional size garlic bulb, or if you can’t wait, eat it as a small, tasty garlic treat.
Incorporate organic matter such as Searles Premium Organic Compost into your garden beds before planting, so the soil is rich and friable. Garlic must be in well-draining soil; you can mound the soil where you plant to encourage good drainage. When you are ready to plant then split the bulb and plant about 10-15cm apart making sure the tip is pointing upwards. Even though they like good drainage they still will need regular water, check the soil moisture with your finger if you are unsure, by poking it into the soil to the second knuckle. The tip of your finger will tell you the soil’s true moisture level. Once it is coming up to harvest time and the leaves are starting to yellow off, stop watering and allow it to dry out.
When harvested, dry out the bulbs in a sunny position, with plenty of space so as not to touch each other, for two weeks. Many have used the leaves to plait them into a garland and then hang them in the kitchen for decoration as well as to use for cooking.