Planting garlic: how to grow it

For many in the kitchen, garlic is simply a part of it. A good reason to plant it in the garden – because only if you grow it yourself can you be sure of its origin and quality.

Growing garlic in your own garden is not difficult – if the location is right: garlic grows well on warm and loose soil in a sunny location. Slightly windy locations are optimal, since the garlic fly (Suillia univittata), the biggest enemy of the aromatic leek family, can usually do no damage here. Wet and heavy soils, on the other hand, are not suitable. Garlic has a shallow root, which is why sandy, humus-poor soils are not ideal due to the risk of drying out.

When should you plant garlic?

Autumn and spring are suitable planting dates for garlic. The toes of the winter garlic planted in autumn produce larger tubers, but the crop protection problems are usually also greater, since the garlic fly has more time to wreak havoc. Bed maintenance, including weed control, naturally takes longer due to the longer cultivation time. The non-hardy spring garlic is particularly recommended for beginners, the toes of which are planted from mid-February to mid-April and produce tubers ready for harvest by autumn. They are slightly smaller than that of the winter garlic.

Cultivation of garlic: plant bulbs or toes

There are two common variants for growing garlic: either you put your toes or the small broiled bulbs that the garlic forms at the top. In the first year, the bulbs develop so-called roundlings, in the second year they become whole tubers. You have to wait two years after being stuck to have tubers ready for harvest. Garlic grown from bulbs is more robust and forms larger tubers. In addition, all cloves of garlic can be used, since you don’t have to keep any seedlings for the new season – otherwise around a fifth of the toes.

In spring, either place the broilers at the correct distance – about ten centimeters – or put them closer together at about three centimeters and then separate them. The young plants pulled in the leaves by the end of July. Now take the resulting roundlings out of the earth and store them in a shady and dry place until you put them back in autumn. Then they are inserted again at a distance of 10 to 15 centimeters in a row and with a distance of 25 to 30 centimeters.

The cloves of garlic are planted in the bed in spring or autumn

The cloves of garlic are planted about two to three centimeters deep with the onion bottom down in mid-September to early October or in spring from mid-February to mid-March. Maintain the same planting distance as with brood bulbs. It is advisable to place the toes at a slight angle in the planting holes to avoid root rot. For later planting appointments, it makes sense to drive the toes in a bright environment with room warmth on damp kitchen paper – this way they grow faster in the garden bed.

Step by step: put the garlic correctly

For example, put your garlic in a harvested potato or bean bed. The bed is first removed from the weeds and loosened with the saucer. Then fertilize the soil with about two liters of compost per square meter and rake it in well. A plant line ensures that the garlic row becomes straight later.

Now separate the onions, the so-called toes, from the central mother onion as seedlings. The toes are inserted about three centimeters deep into the prepared bed at a distance of 15 centimeters. Depending on the weather, the garlic is usually ready for harvest from the end of April.

Fertilization and care of garlic

Always grow your garlic as far away as possible from onions, leeks and chives, because all plants can be affected by the leek miner fly. Apart from this pest and the garlic fly, it is quite resistant to diseases and pests. Garlic is also an excellent mixed culture partner for strawberries and a very undemanding middle consumer. If the soil is supplied with two to three liters of compost per square meter when preparing the bed, the nutrient requirements of the plants are largely covered. In the main growth phase until the end of May, you can add fertilizer once or twice with low-dose nettle slurry. Watering is rather moderate and without wetting the leaves. Winter garlic should be chopped in early spring and twice during the growing phase. The plants also like a soil mulched with straw.

Summer is harvest time

From the end of June, the leaves and stems of the garlic change color from green to yellow. As soon as two thirds of the plant are yellow, usually in mid-July, the tubers should be removed. They must not be open when harvesting, otherwise they will fall apart and the exposed toes will not last long. After pulling the plants out of the ground, it is best to store them in a dry and shady place for a few days. When stored cool and dry, the garlic will last for six to eight months.

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