Garlic - BulbAllium sativum
Give your food a spicy taste!
Garlic (Allium sativum) is known to be a very healthy natural product and an indispensible kitchen ingredient. It is also famous for its medicinal properties and health benefits. Garlic loves warmth and a cool summer can have a negative effect on the crop. The separate cloves will readily produce large bulbs. Plants scattered here and there in your garden will also deter mice and will protect your garden for years. The spicy leaves can be used in a salad. Garlic is best planted in March.Show more
Show moreYou will receive your garlic as a bulb. Sometimes it will already have fallen apart into separate cloves. If still as one bulb, you will need to peel it. Use the largest cloves for planting - as small cloves grow small bulbs. Garlic cloves require no further prior treatment and are ready to use.
Planting methodIn the garden: October-November for earlies, March-June for a later harvest.
Planting garlic in October is actually preferable as garlic needs the cold to form a bulb. Planting in the spring reaps a smaller harvest. Plant in a sunny spot - October to mid-November or March-June.
A well-draining soil in the winter is best - one that was fertilised last year with well rotted manure. Loosen the soil with a fork to at least 30 cm deep. Earthing up is advisable if the soil is somewhat wet as this will help to keep the garlic dry and free of fungus. Dig a straight furrow of about 5 cm deep (on the top of the mounded soil). Label the row and plant each clove point upwards, 8 cm apart. Cover with 3 cm of soil, press lightly down and sprinkle with water (be sure not to demolish the mound). Extra rows at 30 cm distance. Alternate a row of garlic with a row of carrots.
Show moreDo not add fertiliser but do water extra in dry periods. Keep the bed weed-free (do not use a hoe as garlic has surface roots) and your garlic bulbs will then thrive.
HarvestingHarvest in July and August.
The garlic bulbs are ready for lifting as soon as it is summer and the leaves of the plant start to turn yellow and die from the bottom. If planted in the autumn, they will be ripe in the following early summer. Those planted in the spring are ready somewhat later in the summer - say August.
Using a small gardening trowel, carefully loosen the soil around the base of the bulbs and then gently pull the garlic bulbs out. The garlic bulbs can be dried once harvested - just hang them in a shady spot until the leaves are dried out. Keep them off the ground so that the rain doesn’t cause damage. Under a shelter of some type is best - somewhere the wind can dry them well. They will then keep for a long time.
Show moreGarlic bulbs have been grown for the past 3,000 years! Spreading out from the middle of Asia (Iran and Afganistan) to China, and then some 2,000 years ago via India int Egypt, Greece and Italy. Nowadays it is used all over the whole world as a flavour enhancer to lots of dishes.
In Southern European countries, the garlic harvest is big news where there are garlic festivals not just to amuse the locals but to attract tourists and to put the region 'on the map' and of course to sell the various garlic products to one and all.
How to useGarlic bulbs keeps for a long time if stored cool and dry.
Garlic gives extra flavour to any dish, especially Mediterranean recipes. Add it to a meal of steak and potatoes with vegetables, or in soup (there is even garlic soup!). It is of course great for wok cooking. Edible raw too, the flavour is then of course somewhat stronger. Cooking it mellows the flavour. Garlic bulbs are very healthy for you and contain lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.