How To Grow Garlic from Cloves

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We love how easy garlic is to grow, and how deliciously rewarding the end result is! March, April, and May are the perfect months to plant cloves of most garlic varieties (including local Purple Striped Garlic) in Perth to yield mouth-watering full bulbs in Spring. It really is so rewarding to have each little clove you plant turn into a whole new, full bulb!

    In this article, we share our steps and tips for growing garlic at home!

    If you bought some of our organic WA garlic that we had for sale this season, plant a few cloves and try growing your own garlic! Or just enjoy the amazing taste of WA-grown garlic. If you give growing a go, make sure to tag our social media pages Urban Revolution Australia or @urbanrevaus so we can see your progress!

    Dana holding her newly harvested garlic bulbs

     

    What You Need To Grow Garlic

    Growing garlic at home is super easy - all you need is a big pot, root pouch, or garden bed full of nutritious soil and some good quality (preferably organic) garlic cloves that will grow into full bulbs.

    Here are our tips for preparing good garlic-growing soil:

    • Choose a sunny position.
    • The most important thing with growing garlic is that you want loose, well-draining soil so the bulbs can easily form under the earth - they will have trouble if your soil is too packed-down. Our Bioactive Cocopeat potting mix is a great soil to grow garlic in.
    • Prepare your soil by adding organic matter such as green manure, compost, and well-rotted manure. Dig these in several weeks before planting. Our Nutrarich Mature Compost is a great ready-to-go soil input if you don't have time to make your own.

    Organic WA purple striped garlic for sale

     

    How To Plant Garlic Cloves

    Planting garlic is so easy - no special tools required!

    1. Separate the cloves you want to plant into individual segments, making sure that you don't accidentally have any sneaky pairs stuck together!
    2. Take each clove and, with the pointy end facing up, bury them around 4 cm deep and 10-15 cm apart in your prepared soil so each will have enough space to grow into a full bulb.
    3. Water the cloves in well.
    4. You can apply a light mulch to help retain moisture.

    A garlic clove being planted in soil

     

    How To Look After Your Growing Garlic

    Garlic needs very little attention but here are some pointers for garlic care:

    • Keep well watered when the weather is dry, especially if growing in pots
    • Keep the area weed-free
    • You can lay an organic mulch or layer of grass clippings during the growing season to help retain moisture and feed the plants
    • Hardneck garlic varieties grow flower stems called 'scapes' that should be removed to increase the size of your bulb (otherwise the plant will put it's energy into producing a flower rather than the bulb). The removed scapes are edible and add a delicious soft garlic flavour to salads and stir-fries. 

    Softneck garlic Hardneck garlic scape

    Left: softneck garlic. Right: hardneck garlic and it's scape (image from GoingToSeed)

     

    How To Harvest and Cure Garlic

    Softneck garlic varieties (like the Purple Stripe garlic we sell) are ready for harvest when the leaves have started to turn brown and/or the stems soften and fall over. This will happen some time in Spring. You don’t want to leave them until all the leaves die back as the bulbs will have started to split by this time.

    If you're growing a hardneck garlic variety, the stems will not soften or fall so just look out for browning leaves between September-November.

    Garlic nearly ready for harvesting as you can tell by the browning leaves

     

    1. Choose a dry day to do your harvesting.
    2. Take a small garden fork or small trowel and carefully lift out each plant, do not pull from the stem.
    3. Shake off the dirt but be careful not to bang or bruise the bulbs, and don't wash or get your bulbs wet.
    4. Don’t remove the leaves or roots straight away - your garlic still needs curing!

    To cure, lay or hang your harvested garlic plants in a dry, shady spot where they will get some airflow and leave them to cure for 3-8 weeks. You may like to leave them in a basket on the veranda, lay them on a rack, or tie them somewhere to hang. Make sure that they are not exposed to direct sunlight as this can change their flavour and even burn them.

    The longer you cure them, the longer the garlic will store in your pantry. You can cure them for up to 2 months for longer storage.

    Garlic bulbs hanging outside in the shade to cure

     

    Once the stems and roots have dried, you can either cut them off or plait them to store in bundles. Look up how to braid garlic online if you want to give it a go!

    Now your garlic is ready for storing, eating and replanting if you want to save some for another crop! Enjoy!

    A bunch of garlic after curing and cleaning ready to be stored in the pantry and eaten

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