April

HOW TO: GROW GARLIC

The Slowpoke: PLANTING GARLIC

Not one for the impatient among us, garlic is however a relatively easy crop to grow. Left in the ground (or pot) for around eight months, with a little water and good soil you’ll have your own supply of chemical-free homegrown garlic by the time late spring rolls around. And now’s the time to plant.

April is generally the last month you’ll want to be planting garlic in most states in Australia if you want to end up with a good sized bulb at the end. And if you subscribe to gardening by the moon, this week is the ideal time to get your seed garlic in, with the week that follows a full moon being the best time to help establish root crops (so yep, same goes for those winter root crops you’re looking to get going).

To get started, source some good quality organic or chemical-free Australian garlic and break into cloves – these are your ‘seeds’. Don’t buy imported garlic to grow – it’s treated liberally with growth retardants and other chemicals when imported into the country. Which is not only reason enough to grow your own and avoid eating it, but using it to grow is likely to result in a poor crop and may spread diseases in your soil.

Prepare the spot you want to plant your garlic – somewhere with well-draining soil and full sun you can leave it happily for the better part of the year! Add some compost before planting.

To plant, push each of the bulbs down into the soil – about 10cm apart – so that the flat base or root end is facing down, and the top of the clove is just below the surface. Cover over with soil.

Mulch well to help combat weeds and retain moisture. Garlic doesn’t like weeds for competition, so keep an eye on these throughout the growing season and remove any as they pop up. Water regularly and give a dose of soluble fertiliser such as worm tea every month.

The garlic will be ready to harvest when the tops of the green shoots die off and turn brown in spring. Once the bulbs are pulled up they should be left to hang and dry for two to three weeks – resulting in a plentiful supply of garlic to store away for the season!

The Slowpoke: PLANTING GARLIC The Slowpoke: PLANTING GARLICPhotos: Postbear // Estaban Cavrico // Chiot’s Run

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