Garlic is a spice that looks like onion and is found in all the countries of the world, it is said to have originated from Europe and is used for many things apart from serving as a spice, things like curing of diseases etc.
Garlic is a small round spice that looks almost like onion on the outside, but has many tiny parts when opened.
The cultivation or growing of this spice crop is easy, it does not require both hot and cold temperature, it just need a moderate or normal temperature.
All around the world, garlic is one of the easiest to grow crops, because it has the potential to protect itself from pests and so, lesser pests attack it and it does very well in loamy soil with enough soil nutrients.
In this article, I am going to explain in totality about the types, growing or planting, care, harvesting, storage and uses or importance of garlic.
Types/Varieties of Garlic
There are three main Varieties or types of garlic, they are:
The Softneck Varieties/Types: This type of garlic has strong flavour, they are normally bigger in size because energy is not being diverted into the top set beblets just like the Hardneck Variety does. As the name Softneck goes, their name suggests have necks that stay soft after harvest, and therefore are the types that you see braided.
they are recommended for those in the warmer climate, because it is less winter-hardy than other types of Garlic. It’s Varieties are: Red, California Early, California Late, Silverskin and Inchelium.
The Hardneck Variety: The Hardneck type of garlic has a ring of cloves around a stem, in this type, there is not a layer of cloves as there is in softneck types of garlic.
This Variety is very cold hardy, but can not be stored very long like other types or varieties. The Flavor of this type of garlic is milder than softnecks varieties.
The most popular hardneck types are: Music, Chesnok Red, Korean Red, Duganski, Spanish Roja, German Red, and Siberian. These types of Garlic develop little bulblets at the end of a tall flowering stalk in addition to a fat underground bulb of the cloves.
The Great-headed (Elephant) Garlic: The flavor of this type of Garlic is more like onion than traditional garlic.
The great headed elephant garlic is not recommended if you are seeking for a garlic taste.
It is less hardy, and more closely related to leeks than other varieties. The Bulbs and cloves are large, with about 4 cloves to a bulb.
Garlic just like onion and every other agricultural crops out there needs adequate preparation before they could be farmed or grown successfully. The preparation Process of garlic cultivation includes:
Land: Land is by far the most important asset in any Agri business and garlic farming is not in anyway different.
Before starting this type of farming, there must be a land, no just a land, but a good land which will be very compatible with the garlic crops.
Good land includes I must have a good soil with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 and the land should be drained , not waterlogged, it Should be sited in a place where the temperature is moderate or normal ( no too cold not hot) as the garlic crops require a normal or balanced temperature to grow fine, and the sun should be free to penetrate the garden or farm.
When the farmland has been located, be it home garden or real farmland, the next issue is to prepare the land and keep it ready for garlic planting.
To prepare the land for the cultivation, it Should be cleared off bush, grasses and dirt’s or trees if there is any.
To do this, you need tools like Cutlass, rake, hoe and spade and is the farm is big enough, use machines to clear the farm/garden and rake properly so that nylons or tins can not be found in the because they might kill the crops when planted.
When the land is clean, pour in it large amount of organic manure like animal dung and leave it for a long time, this can only be done if you are not ready to plant immediately.
If you are planting immediately, make farm beds of 3 to 4 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet tall, then make small holes on them, 1 to 2 inches deep and 4 or 5 inches gap or space from each other.
Getting the Garlics to Grow
Getting the garlic to cultivate should not be a problem, but to some people, it is because they tend to get their garlic bulbs in the wrong way such as going to the supermarket or stores to buy garlics which they will grow, this is totally wrong!
This is one of the reasons some of the garlic farms or gardens do not do well.
To get a good plantable garlic, there are many stores or reputable online stores where you can order well treated many types of seeds that are best for farming and garlic is one of them. Here is my recommended site to buy good quality seeds
When the garlic bulbs arrive, then proceed to plant them in the garden or farm bed you prepared.
After preparing the land and getting the garlic, the next step is to plant or sow them.
To sow garlic cloves is very simple, just get the garlic, break the bulbes, put the cloves inside the holes you made on the farm bed and face the bottom down and the top where it will sprout from up and cover slightly with sand.
Although it can be grown on a container inside the house and transplanted to the garden or farm, but not that some Varieties does not like being transplanted, so note them before growing inside a container.
To grow inside a container, get big pots or big flower pots and fill with good loamy sand, plant your garlic cloves.
In the cooler climates, sowing garlic cloves is usually between September and November.
Care of Garlic garden/Farm
Care of garlic garden is simply the act or Process of grooming and caring for the garlics you have sowed.
Taking care of them is very important and a necessary process if you want to harvest good and quality Garlics, if adequate care if neglected, you might end up getting no single harvest as they might die, thereby wasting a whole lot of money.
There are many ways to care for the garlic garden which are:
Fertilizing: Fertilizing is a very important way to care and grow garlics, good Fertilization of this crop should not only start when they are sown or planted, it Should start before they are planted.
When the garden is cleared for planting the Garlics, first of all apply manures like animal dungs and leave them there to be integrated into the soil and if animals dungs are not good for you, apply 5-10-10 Fertilizer on the ground before planting the crops.
The measurement of this type of Fertilizer should be a table tea spoonful per 10 inches area of the farm bed.
When they start growing, probably in about a month or a bit more, apply another manure or Fertilizer.
The Fertilizer should be measured half a tea spoonful of Fertilizer and be spread around each of the crops, covering with a slight bit of sand after applying.
Garlic crop takes between 4 and half month or complete 5 months to mature, before then, a total number of 3 sets of manure should be applied to them.
And if you are applying organic manure like compost or animal dungs, to apply them, heap some small amount of them around the bottom of each of the garlic crops and leave them there for rain or irrigation to integrate them into the soil and provide nutrients for the crops.
Irrigation/Watering: The importance of irrigation can not be over looked in this type of farming, in fact, it is one of the back-bones of any crop.
Once the crops have started growing or once they sprout, it is very important to pay close attention to watering them, if not, they will just die off, especially if they are planted in a dry season, so water is important to them as they are good drinker.
To provide water for them, just fill a watering cane with water and spray on them. This is very good and possible if the crops are planted on the home garden or containers in the home, but in the case of large farms, a good irrigation system should be adopted, such as laying hosts or pipes that will carry water to the farm.
On an average, garlic crops should be watered at least once in 2 or 3 days, depending on the weather condition of the place involved.
Mulching: Mulching is also an important care of garlic crops, this is done in order to protect the crops from drought and malnutrition.
It is most helpful during the dry season, this is when the rain is no more and the crops are being sustained by irrigation, in order to save more water in the ground, mulch is necessary.
Not only about saving water in the ground, soil nutrients are also protected from heavy rainfall with Mulching.
Weeding: In almost every farm crops, weed is a very disturbing agent as it will definitely kill the crops or dismantle their growth and yields by competing with them in sucking off the soil nutrients and water which the crops are required to grow with.
This is of a very concern issue in farming which needs to be taken care of adequately, immediately they sprout out.
In a short while after sowing the crops, maybe in few weeks or less than a month, depending on the type of soil and climate involved, all manner of weeds are likely to start sprouting out from many locations in the farm/garden and they need to be taken care of.
To take care of them, they need to be removed immediately with either manual weeding tools such as hoe, Cutlass or with bare hands or you buy herbicides which you will have to spray on them and they will die.
Note – The methods of weed removal I mentioned above is solely determined by the size of the farm involved. For home garden, herbicide is not necessary unless you have the money to spare on it as you can weed the garden with hoe or hands.
Pruning: Pruning is also an important care of garlic plants, this means removing the parts of the plants ( leaves or stems) that are showing signs of dying.
This is important because it will give way to the whole plant to grow healthy.
Crop Rotation: Crop rotation is one of the biggest necessary care of garlic which many farmers ignore, this is one of the causes of the misfortunes which people encounter with garlic cultivation.
Just like onion, garlic is very likely to breed diseases if cultivated on the same land twice or more, in order to control this, the crops should be rotated.
This means that if a garlic is grown in a particular garden or farm this year, it Shouldn’t be used to grow the same crop next year or more, with this, the diseases that has been bred into the soil will have to die before garlic is grown in the same land again. The rotating period should be about 2 or 3 years.
Pests and Diseases of Garlic Crops
Garlic is online other crops that are prone to pests, although it has some number of diseases, especially the same diseases that do attack onion crops.
Pests hardly attack garlic mainly because the leaf is an insect repellant. Majority of the pests that attack farm crops are pests, so the pest repellant in the leaves of garlic has reduced the amount of pest attack in this plant drastically, so pests should not be a thing to worry about when growing garlic.
Like I said above, garlic has few diseases, especially the same do that attack onion farm.
The White Rot is a fungus that do attack garlic plants in cool weather. There is not much that can be done to control or prevent this problem except rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting as I have explained earlier.
This disease can live in the soil for some years and so crop rotation is the only remedy for it. This fungus affects the base of the leaves and roots greatly.
Thrips is the cause of withering of the leaves, the application of methyl demeton 25EC 1 ml/litre will control this disease.
How to harvest garlic farm
In about 4 and half month or two months, from the day if planting, the garlic crops will be matured and ready for harvest.
This is identified when the leaves of the plants start going yellow or brown and some are dying off,this is good sign that they are okay for harvest.
To harvest them, use a farm spade or farm fork to dig around the crops and then pull them out gently, after pulling them out, cut off their stems and leaves.
Note – Do not in any way injure the garlic bulbs as they might start spoiling from there if not consumed in a while.
After harvesting, spray them on trays or large wooden surface where the sun could heat them very well. Keep them there for 5 days or a week so that the hear from the sun could dry them totally before storing, if not, they won’t last for a very long time before they will spoil.
How to Store Garlics
After harvesting, the next question will always be how to store them.
When the garlics have dried enough and their skin are now light and dry, then remove them from the sun, remove all the dirt’s on them without washing them and place them in a dry bag or container and store them in a room with a temperature of about 40 °F to 70° F.
In this way, they could last for a very long time and be re replanted next farming season, sold or consumed.
Uses/Importance of garlic Crops
Garlic has many importance or benefits, that is why this spice and herb is the most soughted spice apart from Onion. It’s uses ranges from medicine and spice.
Some of the importance are:
It is used to prepare hundreds of recipes in all places of the world, for instance rice, soup, beans, etc.
Garlic is used as a home remedy to cure cough or make cough syrup in many places or the world.
Just like onion, Garlic is also used as a remedy to relieve the pains of scorpion sting, ant bite and also is said to cure snake bite.
The leaves of garlic is used as a good alternative to insects repellant such as mosquitos etc.
Garlic like onion is said to have the potential to cure some certain eyes problems.
If you follow everything I have said, you will be able to grow/cultivate good quality garlic.
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