Garlic
Allium Sativum


One of the worlds oldest herbs would have to be garlic. In ancient times Egyptioans believed garlic imparted strength. Garlic is believed to have its origins in Asia.
If you have a garden and you enjoy garlic, take the next step: grow your own. The key in the south is planting it in the fall. Garlic needs 40 or more cold days below 40°F in order for the clove to split into a bulb. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a plant looking like a green onion with no bulb. Probably the hardest part about growing garlic is the initial step of finding a source of planting stock.

Garlic (Allium Sativum) is a perennial herb of the Liliaceae (Lilly) family. Size in garlic is determined first by the variety and then by growing conditions. Soil conditions and watering are of the utmost importance when growing, excellent, large, healthy garlic. Garlic requires a well-balanced soil that is loose enough for the bulb to grow and expend. What it doesn’t like is dry, hard packed clay that may restrict its expansion. This sounds like an herb which would like a raised bed. Work in lots of organic material so you have a fertile, well drained soil. You want the bulb itself to be in the drier part of the soil with its roots down where there is more moisture. There are two main types of garlic; softneck (also referred to as silverskin, common, artichoke, or Italian) and hardneck.

Garlic likes to dry gradually to allow excess moisture in the roots and leaves evaporate or withdraw into the bulb. Wait until the roots and necks are completely dried and emit no typical garlic odor when cut; that is the time to trim it. It often takes three or four weeks to get to that stage, longer for large bulbs. Following this you will store the garlic in a dry place out of the sun, but never put them into plastic bags or sealed containers.

Plant cloves points up, 1 to 2 inches deep and 2 to 6 inches apart in the row. A common planting arrangement is 4 inches by 4 inches in triple rows on beds. Cloves that are fall planted too shallow are prone to winter injury. Although garlic is quite hardy, fall planted garlic can be mulched with straw or some other organic material for extra winter protection.

Good soil moisture is required during the growing season to produce large, well-shaped bulbs. This is usually provided by overhead irrigation. As harvest nears, however, irrigation should be halted to prevent deterioration of the bulbs.

Season of Bloom
Summer
Height
up to16-24 in.
Soil
well drained.
Exposure
full Sun 6-8 hours.
Propagation
start from seed or purchase bulbs.

Root rot, fungi and bacteria may be a problem as well as thrips.