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Garlic is a popular & relatively easy to grow crop.  It likes a friable, humus rich soil which must be well drained. Dig through soil improvers (compost, etc) and clay - if you have very sandy soil - prior to planting.  Garlic prefers a sunny spot. 

Choose local and organically grown garlic.  Any imported cloves are unlikely to grow due to treatment they have been subjected to for quarantine (and are actually illegal to grow for biosecurity reasons).

Plant the individual cloves (pointy side up!) at approx. the same depth as the bulb anytime from autumn to late winter. Leave approx. 15cm between plants.  Do make sure you weed the area around & between garlic during its growing season - weeds will provide competition for nutrients and sunlight and you'll end up with smaller cloves to harvest.

Plants will take at least 6-9 months until maturity (depending on the variety and the season), and are harvested once the leaves and flowers die back - usually in late spring or summer. Then the bulbs should be removed from the ground and hung to dry.

Remove excess dirt (you can take off a layer of the outside papery coating - but do leave some behind to help the garlic store well). Garlic will store in a cool, dry place for several months before it can be used or replanted.

The cloves add a delicious flavour to many dishes, and are excellent as a roasted vegetable eaten whole. Cooking the cloves gives a milder flavour.

Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and its antiseptic and antibiotic properties (as an aid to prevent colds and flu) have been scientifically acknowledged, as has its ability to lower cholesterol.

Garlic can also be used as an effective spray against garden pests and fungus diseases. If used as a contact spray, it will kill aphids, stink bugs, spider mite, thrip and caterpillars. If sprayed on leaves, it will help make them unpalatable to many insect pests, but of course will not be effective after rain or overhead watering. It is useful to prevent dampening off disease of seedlings and other leaf spot diseases.

As a companion plant, garlic helps to confuse insect pests and is a popular choice for interplanting with roses, brassicas (eg. cabbage and broccoli), and fruit trees.

Quick garlic spray recipe:

Roughly chop 10 regular cloves of garlic (try about 5 Russian garlic cloves) and steep overnight in 1L of warm water. Strain and use within a few days.


The Green Life Soil Co. often has organically grown garlic cloves available for planting in Autumn -  March/April is the best time of year to check with us.

Visit our store or our online shop for a range of garden products and organic garden supplies.

Resources for Growing Organic Veggies & Herbs:

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