Garlic is commonly used for flavoring food. Garlic usually has a strong delicious irresistible aroma.
Garlic is a good source of vitamin and famous for its medicinal value.
Garlic belongs to the bulb onions family and is reported to have lucrative returns and a readily available local market.
Garlic is grown in a well-tilled, drained, loose and organic fertile garden soil.
The soil PH should range between 5.5 to 6.8
Garlic is not planted from seeds but rather from individual garlic seed cloves.
A farmer should choose a garlic variety that is big in their area. Most preferred is the head of garlic that is firm and has tight clustered cloves.
The bigger the cloves the better the chances of growing high-quality garlic.
There are three main varieties of garlic namely: elephant garlic, soft neck garlic, and hardneck garlic.
Softneck garlic is the most common variety of garlic found within the food market. It features a white, paper-like skin.
It is the simplest form of garlic to grow and usually has a sweet pungent odour and a robust taste.
Types of soft neck garlic are California Early, California Late, and Creole which thrive best grow best in warm climates.
Hard neck garlic is the less common type with purple markings. Varieties of hardneck garlic are Roja and German Extra Hearty which produce large and few cloves on the head.
They too have a fairly strong taste and a sweet pungent odour. They usually have thinner skin that is easy to remove.
However, hardneck garlic a short shelf life, unlike the soft neck varieties.
Elephant garlic is commonly found in grocery stores and has a very large head with very large cloves.
Elephant garlic nevertheless, has a very subtle flavor and mild odor.
Garlic is resistant to a wide range of diseases and pests at different stages in its lifecycle.
A farmer should use a clean garlic clove seed stock or a seed that has been hot water treated to control pests like bulb mites, nematodes, and white-rot fungus.
To ensure crop rotation and prevent pests and hosts, a farmer should not plant garlic following any member of the onion family in the farm.
A farmer should ensure not to overwater garlic seed cloves when planting as they may rot.
Mulching garlic also comes handy as it protects the garlic from harsh cold conditions, keeps weeds off and retains moisture thus reduce risks of overwatering making the soil waterlogged.
Weeds should be controlled by cultivation, hoeing, mulching or applying herbicides as garlic do not compete fairly.
Different varieties of garlic mature at different times thus it is harvested at different times.
Since garlic heads are buried in the soil and are not visible, the right time for harvesting is determined by the appearance of the foliage. Once the foliage has turned brown and died back, it is probably the right time to harvest.
A farmer should pay attention to the soil moisture levels when the foliage begins to turn brown to help determine when it’s time to harvest.
If the soil is fairly wet for a long period of time due to heavy rainfall, the garlic may be ready to be harvested while the foliage is still slightly green.
When harvesting, care should be taken to not to damage the bulbs or scrap them as that may lead to rotting and lead to poor yields.
After harvesting garlic, it should be dried in a well-ventilated room for about three to four weeks. The bulbs are then graded for the market.
Garlic should be stored at relative humidity and at room temperature to prevent rooting and sprouting.
Properly cured garlic may last for six to twelve months if stored in optimal conditions away from moisture.
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