Tui Organic Compost, the natural
Garlic is one of the easiest and least fuss vege crops you can grow. It takes up hardly any room (width wise above the soil) and once you plant it requires little care other than moist soil.
Traditionally garlic is planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest day. It can be planted in the autumn as well if space and time permits.
Garlic thrives if given basics, food, water and plenty of sun. It will grow both in the garden and in containers.
- For garden planting, preparation is key, dig over the soil well prior to planting, add a good layer of Tui Organic Compost and then blend in Tui Vegetable Food.
- If your soil still looks a bit light in colour, add a bag or two of sheep pellets.
- Ideally leave the soil for a day or two, or until next weekend before planting. This allows the compost, fertiliser and worms to all harmonize and adjust before planting.
- Garlic bulbs are readily available in garden centres in winter, buy a whole bulb like you would at the supermarket. Steer clear of planting garlic from supermarkets as often it has been treated to stop it sprouting away in the supermarket – particularly if it’s been imported from China.
- Next break up each bulb into cloves (little segments), it is these segments which you plant NOT the whole bulb.
- Bury each clove (segment) finger depth (at least 5 cm) below the ground (twice as deep as the length of the clove).
- Shallow planting will cause big problems, when the plants grow the roots can’t support the weight of the heavy leaves and fall over, pulling the whole plant out of the ground. Hence always plant deep!
Growing garlic in pots
- Garlic is happy growing in pots and containers, in a pot the size of a kitchen bucket you can plant about 6 cloves of garlic.
- All that is required is good drainage, a position in full sun and good potting mix.
- Garden soil or mulch is not a good option to fill pots with, use a potting mix, like Tui Vegetable Mix.
- Plant the same as you would in the garden, keep soil moist but not wet through the warmer months.
- Once planted, shoots will appear within a month or so.
- Keep garlic bed or pots free from weeds throughout the growing season and keep soil moist.
- A layer of Tui Pea Straw Mulch is a great way to keep the soil moist and cool when the garlic is actively growing.
- Garlic requires a lot of water to produce large bulbs, particularly as the bulbs are starting to form in November and December.
- Small garlic cloves are often caused by lack of water through these months.
- Apply blood and bone or liquid fertiliser through the season to encourage larger cloves.
Harvest in summer once the tops start to die back. Don’t be tempted to yank the bulbs out by the leaves, dig up with a fork and leave to dry on the top of the ground for a week or so, then plait and store somewhere dry and away from directly sunlight.
Keep a few good heads of your own garlic to use as the stock of next years crop. You can expect about 150 plants from a dozen heads of garlic.