Garlic is one of the oldest grown plants and has antiseptic and antibiotic qualities as well as being full of vitamins, minerals and great to boost immunity. No wonder that it has been used and grown for thousands of years.
So much of the garlic sold in Australian shops is imported and this means that it has probably been treated with Methyl Bromide and Growth inhibitors to extend its shelf life.
This is definitely one crop that should be grown at home.
Garlic is relatively easy to grow, the only drawback being that it needs plenty of time and space. It does, however, require minimal fertilisers and has very few pest and disease problems.
When growing garlic choose the hardest and largest size cloves to plant. Cool conditions will encourage garlic to sprout. It is best planted in warm temperate zones around Easter as the weather is beginning to cool down. Make sure your soil contains plenty of Organic compost.
Garlic doesn’t need a lot of nitrogen fertiliser, it prefers sweet soil so be prepared to add gypsum which increases the pH of the soil. Plant your cloves about 10-15cm apart with each row being around 20-25cm apart. Adding sulphate of potash will encourage bulbs to form good size and flavoured garlic. Watering needs to be consistent during the growth period, with good drainage.
Your crop will be ready to harvest around spring to early summer. At this time, stop all watering to harden the bulbs that will then store well and remain hard. You’ll know that it’s time to harvest when the plants begin to look papery and the tips start to die back. This is when you can gently lift your garlic and just brush off the soil. Don’t wet them! Tie the heads of garlic into bundles with the leaves still attached. Hang these bundles in a cool airy spot, out of sunlight. This will ensure that your garlic can be used for months to come.
Enjoy the best garlic that you have eaten!
If you still can’t grow your own, for whatever reason, please try and source it from local markets or make sure that it is Australian grown. As with all foods, buy organic if you can!
Now might also be the right time to Google remedies for garlic breath….