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Growing Garlic

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  P P P                

(Best months for growing Garlic in South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Plant cloves. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 10 - 12 cm apart
  • Harvest in 17-25 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Tomatoes, Parsnips
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Asparagus, Beans, Brassicas, Peas, Potatoes
  • Almost ready to harvest
    Almost ready to harvest
  • Garlic cloves
    Garlic cloves
  • Young garlic shoots
    Young garlic shoots

Garlic is traditionally planted in cold weather and harvest in summer ("plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest"). Plant the cloves (separated from the bulb), point upwards, deep enough to just cover with soil. A fairly tough and easy-growing plant. On better soil with regular watering you will get a better crop. On poorer soil, and forgetting to water them, you will still get some garlic, only not quite so much.

Leave a garlic to go to seed, and you will probably get plenty of self-sown plants the following year.

To keep for later use, dig up and leave to dry out for a day or so after the green shoots die down. To use immediately, pull up a head when you need it, or cut and use the green shoots.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Garlic

Cut the growing shoots or use the entire young garlic plants as 'garlic greens' in stirfry.

Your comments and tips

26 Apr 16, Rosa (Australia - temperate climate)
I have not had much success with growing garlic, last year they when harvested most of them were rotten. So how much water does it need? If planted in the some rectangular bed with beans or peas how far should it be? Thanks
26 Apr 16, Vincent (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Hi. Thanks for the information. I have grown garlic on raised beds, and the plants look fine. I want to know if they will withstand a tropical sun or I will have to shield them with a sunscreen. Plants are a month old, and the weather is on the shift from 5he rainy humid season to the dry and sunny season.
16 Apr 16, Jen (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I would like to know which varieties of garlic are suitable to grow in Brisbane and where I could purchase them. Any advice would be really appreciated.
13 Apr 16, Barbara (Australia - temperate climate)
can you plant garlic in pots?
15 Apr 16, Jen (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Yes, you can Barbara, .... for extra bulbs I have always planted about extra cloves, and found that 6 cloves planted into a large HDPE pot the largest I have are 420 mm 42 cm wide, and with mulch over the top and a good base of a mix of animal manures all goes well. We are in our cool climate though....good especially if people are renting OR planning on moving within the year... Happy gardening Jen cool climate
12 Apr 16, Cassie (Australia - arid climate)
Noooo Gearge! The rough bottom is the root plate where the clove will grow new roots from so it won't help to damage it.
08 Apr 16, George (Australia - temperate climate)
Does it help speed up growth from the seed if the firm base is roughened up of cut off?
23 Mar 16, Lesley Wickham (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Is it important to grow garlic in fresh ground each year or can I use the same bed as last time?
26 Mar 16, Len. (Australia - temperate climate)
I grow garlic in the same spot. Before planting each year, I add compost and a small amount of well rotted animal manure. Mix it in well and to date have had very good results.
24 Mar 16, Alan (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Lesley, Garlic has a very long growing season (longest day to shortest day) so we prefer not to grow it in our normal garden beds since it invariably gets in the way of further plantings so we plant them all around the ornamentals in the front garden as a border & we do this year after year without effecting the yield or quality. Regards, Al.
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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

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