I love garlic so I decided to grow my own last year. I got some great tips from a friend who grows about half a ton each year to supply some of the local organic shops. First I had to work out how much we eat each year. We eat at least one bulb a week and thought we could grow extra to give some to family as gifts. Also grow extra to have plenty of seed (cloves) for next years planting.
I thought 80 should be enough. To get 80 plants I needed 80 cloves. For better results it’s important to start with organic bulbs. The non organic bulbs have usually been treated with a sprout inhibitor which will stunt the growth. Garlic gets planted on the Adelaide plains at Easter and is harvested at Christmas.
I prepared the soil well by adding heaps of compost, manure, and gypsum for my heavy clay soil. I planted the cloves in rows 15 cm apart, pointy side up and twice as deep as the clove. Then I watered in. After they sprouted I laid lucerne hay between the rows to stop the weeds coming up. I didn’t water much as they can rot. We get plenty of winter rains on the Adelaide plains but I did water a few times as the weather warmed up.
The garlic is ready to harvest when the stalks start to die back. I used a small garden fork to gently pry them out of the ground. Keep the dry stalks intact to use for plaiting them for storage. Hang in a place in the house with good ventilation and no direct sunlight as it will keep longer.
Keep the best bulbs aside as your seed stock for next year.