Growing Garlic


“i am very intereted in growing garlic for home and animal control how do i do it? ~C.”

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Garlic is very easy to grow.  It is best suited for friable (crumbly) loamy soils that are fertile and high in organic matter. Gardeners who can grow onions can grow garlic since the culture is similar. Garlic does well with high amounts of fertilizer. As a general recommendation, apply three pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Follow soil test recommendations for your particular garden soil. The soil must be kept evenly moist as dry soil will cause irregularly shaped bulbs. Heavy clay soils will also create misshaped bulbs and make harvesting difficult. Add organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost to the soil on a yearly basis to keep it friable.

Garlic can be planted in the fall (usually mid-October to mid- November) or in the very early spring (as soon as the ground warms up.  Later spring planting is not successful because it does not allow full leaf development by the end of the season. It has been found that long days and warm temperatures favor bulb development in the garlic plant. As soon as bulbing starts, leaf initiation ceases.  The yield potential of the plants depends on the amount of vegetative growth before bulbing commences. Select only larger outer cloves for the best garlic. Garlic seed is not available and is rarely produced by plants. Be sure that the cloves are free of disease and are smooth and fresh.

Plant garlic cloves three to five inches apart in an upright position in the row and set them at a depth of one-half to one inch deep. Setting the bulbs in an upright position ensures a straight neck. Be sure to allow 18 to 30 inches between the rows. Do not divide the bulbs into cloves until you are ready to plant since early separation results in decreased yields.

The bulbs may be harvested when the tops start to dry. This is usually in August. Bulbs should be dug up rather than pulled to avoid stem injury. Allow the tops to dry. After the bulbs have dried, the tops and roots can be removed with shears to within an inch of the bulbs. It is essential that the garlic be well cured before going into storage. The mature bulbs are best stored at 32 degrees F. Garlic stores well under a wide range of temperatures, but sprouts are produced most quickly at temperatures at or above 40 degrees F. The humidity in storage should be near 65 to 70 percent at all times to discourage mold development and root formation. Cloves should keep for six to seven months.

As for using garlic in various types of pest control, I have found the following recipes to be helpful:

Garlic Spray :  To make garlic/pepper tea, liquefy 2 bulbs of garlic and 2 hot peppers in a blender 1/2 to 2/3 full of water. Strain the solids and add enough water to the garlic/pepper juice to make 1 gallon of concentrate. Use 1/4 cup of concentrate per gallon of spray.

To make garlic tea, simply omit the pepper and add another bulb of garlic. Add two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses for more control.  This can be sprayed on plants to control soft-bodied insects and various types of flies (leafhoppers, fungus gnats, etc.).  If you have beneficial larvae (lacewings, ladybugs, etc.), I would refrain from using this as it will kill your beneficials too.

Flea/tick Control Recipe: Fresh garlic in small quantities can help repel fleas by making the animal taste unpleasant to fleas. Grate a small amount of fresh, raw garlic into your pet’s food at mealtime, about one-half to 3  cloves depending on the animal’s size (1 clove per 30 pounds). Some holistic health practitioners recommend heating the garlic for easier digestion, and to not to give them garlic every day.

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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