By John Gannon
Garlic is a great root vegetable to grow for Autumn/Winter. It is nutritious and high in minerals and vitamins. It was used for health and medicine by the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. It was consumed by the sailors, soldiers and rural classes, and was given to the Egyptian slaves to make them strong. In modern-day times it has been proven to boost both our immune and cardiovascular systems.
How to grow?
Garlic grows best in cool weather. Do not use garlic from the supermarket as they are sprayed with growth inhibitors and will not grow. Diggers Club sells many types of garlic for growing purposes. Choose a pot/container with good drainage that is at least 20cm deep and that is at least 30-40cm wide. You can fill the container/pot with any good potting mix, and add some compost if you have it. Choose a spot with full sun.
If you’re growing in the ground, dig in some composted manure and compost.
Break off a clove from the bulb, and plant into a container or the ground the pointy end up. Plant 2-5cm deep. Break off more cloves and plant at the same depth 10-20cm apart. Cover with a light mulch, and water in. Garlic takes approximately 6-9 months to grow so it is good to plant it early in March or April. After 6-9 months some of the garlic leaves should start to turn brown and they will be ready for harvest. You can also harvest when there are four green leaves left, or the stem becomes soft and wilted at the base. Hang garlic bulbs in a dry position with good ventilation to dry or cure, making sure to keep them out of sunlight. You can let them hang in bunches or arrange them on racks and let them dry in the garage or shed. After three weeks store in a cool dark place with good air circulation. They will be ready to store when the outside is dry and paper-like.
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