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- Home | Gourmet Garlic
Spray free and cared for by hand, let us help you to choose a garlic type, then visit our shop and use NZ's best garlic growing guide Our Range Gourmet Sampler For those what want to try every global garlic type Mild Climate Pack Garlic that prefers a warmer winter Cool Climate Pack Garlic that prefers a cool winter Cold Climate Pack Garlic that prefers a cold winter Bulbil Packs Curious to try growing garlic's secondary cloves? SHOP Try our ... Garlic Growing Guide
- Maintaining | Gourmet Garlic
GARLIC GROWING GUIDE The ten stages of growing garlic Maintaining Garlic is generally a low maintenance crop. It does not need a lot of effort, but it be can be affected by pests and disease than many other vegetables. Thus, garlic does need some attention while growing and these are some key aspects to consider. Additives Fertilising In addition to preparing the soil before planting it is good to have a fertiliser regime while the plants are growing which consists of at least two phases. Nitro gen is important for leaf growth and is needed early on in leaf growth. Phosphorous is important for root development in the later phase of the plants' life. The first stage is for leaf growth where nitrogen is important. In mild winter climates garlic will grow up to 12 + leaves, while in colder climates less than 12 leaves are produced. Regular monthly fertiliser applications up until the maximum leaf number is obtained will support good leaf health. We apply a general organic fertiliser or blood and bone during this time. It is important to keep a regular fertiliser regime (monthly) during except over winter if the day temperatures are below 12 ° C. In winter rainfall leaches out the nutrients, while in spring the soils are beginning to warm - cold soils do not aid in nutrient uptake. So it is best to maintain a good regular balance of fertiliser just after planting and when the soils warm up in spring. The second stage is bulbing which occurs once the plant nearly reaches the max imum number of leaves before maturing. This is called the transition stage for the plant. At this point, potassium is important for root development as the plant is putting its energy into bulb growth. We apply a general organic potash during this time. Mulching Once garlic cloves are in the ground it i s worth considering whether to use mulch on top of the soil, particularly to suppress weeds . While we at Gourmet Garlic do not top cover (we use mulch on farrow beds though) others use mulch in different locations around the country . Often mild to cool winter areas, particularly near the coastal areas need not apply mulch unless the garlic is affected by salt spray or other local conditions. It is best not to apply mulch in wet climate areas. Mulch moderates the soil temperature, and reduces the effect of extremes like snow. In saying that garlic originates in cold extremes and our young garlic shoots in the deep south have no problem surviving with a foot of snow covering them in winter. Few places in the country experience permafrost for weeks on end, unlike some in Siberia, Canada and other northern hemisphere higher latitudes. Mulch retains moisture, suppresses weeds and adds nutrients to the soil. It also has its disadvantages in that it can also keep the soil temperature damp and cool during spring, slowing growth and it can foster disease, mo u lds, pests. It is better to apply mulch after winter for adding nitrogen and reducing weeds. In spring it can suppress the weeds and conditions are warmer reducing the chances of mulch being a cold waterlogged mat. Choose the mulch that holds the least amount of water, overseas sugar cane mulch fits this criteria. There is a bit of an art to using mulch. Mulch should not be too heavy or dense, it should be light and fluffy for shoots to pop through - generally 2-10cm of depth is a good guide. There are a variety of mulch options such as hay, straw, grass clippings and a mix of chopped up leaves. Choose a m ulch source wit h few weed seeds. We do not recommend using black plastic weedmat. The soil can rise above 50 degrees a few centremetres down into the soil stressing the roots and culturing disease. It is better to use this material it for the side linings of beds. If you live in a windy area and are using light mulch such as hay or dried leaves, consider wetting it to reduce its movement around the garden. Mulch is normally removed in spring and if it gets waterlogged it may prevent garlic shoots from rising to the surface. Some growers apply mulch once the shoots are several centimetres high. Watering Garlic should never be allowed to dry out, but should never be saturated ... it should be moist not wet . Roots are shallow (although can descend 60cm) but can still need deep watering. Watering is relatively intuitive often a finger test of dampness is all that is needed. If in doubt purchase a cheap moisture plunger or dig down beside the plant to spade depth and test soil conditions. If the leaf edge is beginning to yellow this is one possible first sign that the plant is deficient in moisture. The most ideal time to water is morning during sunny and warm conditions allowing the plant to dry out and reducing the risk of disease. It is not best practice to water (via a overhead method) in the evening or night as this will result in prolonged leaf wetness which can encourage disease and rust spores. Some places in winter and early spring, like here in the deep south need no or very little additional water in winter or early spring. Of course, those with sandy soils, warmer winters or dry and windy places will need a watering regime to achieve ideal soil moisture conditions even in winter. In these places (particularly without mulch) it might be necessary to water every day or every second day. Consider using a drip system. Sprinklers can wet leaves which encourages garlic rust and other diseases to take hold. It is also important to know when to stop watering. Yes, for garlic the 2-4 weeks before harvesting it is necessary to stop . At this point bulbs are drying out and are vulnerable to excess moisture. Rainfall or continued watering up to harvest time can cause storage rot plus the bulb wrapper can split and be stained. Note that once bulbing begins (8-10 weeks before harvest), the plants immune system becomes inactive and they are more prone to basal or root rot diseases. Weeds Weeding Even with using mulch , persistent weeds can still break through the soil seeking any available light. Wild garlic evolved in the cold mountains of Central Asia. They had little competition in their arid homeland and as a result grew only a few slender leaves which are unable to be replaced. As a result, garlic does not tolerate completion from weeds. It is necessary to keep on top of weeds as soon as they rise out of the soil. Weeds not only shade the garlic leaves but also drain nutrients from the soil and can cause premature bulbing. It is good practice to regularly weed and give garlic the best chance to grow large heathy bulbs. Scapes Scape Removal T he scape is a flower stem and is mostly associated with hardneck garlic types. Before harvesting, hardnec k garlic typically sends up a scape which normally curls then straightens before the garlic is harvested (softneck garlic can scape when stressed). Semi-bolting hardneck types (creole , turban , asiatic ) in milder-winter areas do not necessarily produce a scape. The garlic plant puts energy into forming the scape so many growers remove them to direct the plants resources into developing the bulb. We have found there is a direct correlation of bulb size and scape removal of around 10-30%. We remove the scape before they begin to curl, before they are longer than 20cm tall. If removing the scape, do so on a dry day so the break can heal cleanly without introducing infection and disease. When you see the firm stalk rise up from the middle of the leaves snap (not pull) it off the stalk by hand (if the scape is small) or with secateurs below the umbel before it widens. If the scape is pulled, it may result in the pseudostem becoming weak and will let water down into the bulb. More information is available on our garlic scape page. WarningSigns Warning Signs While garlic is a pretty hardy plant, i t can be affected by range of pest species (nearly 100) and the first warning signs once planted are irregular 'roguing' growth. A garlic grower should be regularly inspecting the garlic growth to find the first signs of irregular growth early. Garlic is one of the most susceptible annuals to disease for three main reasons. Firstly the cloves and bulbils are clones of the plant so unlike seed it can carry forward and accumulates disease to future generations. Secondly bulbs grow in the damp soil and for a long time where they are exposed and vulnerable to a whole range of soil borne diseases. Thirdly there are few infield treatments to cure many garlic diseases. For bacterial and viral issues there is almost no treatment options, while fungal issues only has limited options. The best method is crop rotation, raising the soil, planting good stock and removing rogue shoots early. The first sign is the plant having smaller, yellowing or shriveled leaves compared to others in the bed. It is worth inspecting plants regularly to catch these rogue sick plants as they will never grow into healthy ones. Also, be careful to remove them including the surrounding soil before disposing. To leave sick plants in the soil increases the disease and affects soil health and nearby garlic. Most fungal issues can be reduced by practicing crop rotation (recommended 3+ years), choosing good planting stock, having good watering practices and planting a variety of garlic groups known as polyculture. Once shooting begins look out for the warning signs of disease or other non-uniform growth. While it is handy to have early season garlic like turbans and asiatics , the mid to late harvesting garlics are generally are less prone to seasonal pest and diseases as the season warms up. Garlic produces roots first, before sending out shoots. In mild-winter climates where cloves are planted shal l ower, shoots are likely to appear 1-2 weeks after planting. In such climates where the daytime temperature is above 12°C then leaf growth will continue through winter. In colder climates it can take up to six weeks for leaves to appear. In colder climates only 3-6 leaves will initially grow before the plant goes into dormancy. Once spring arrives and temperatures exceed 14°C, then leaf growth resumes. Note that standard purple stripe and sometimes the porcelain garlic group has an 'alien' early growth form where they lie flat with the ground. Porcelain is also known to be the most susceptible to having viruses. The three main categories of garlic problems, having diseases , unusual growth or affected by pests . Our page on common garlic problems discusses the main garlic diseases encountered by growers in NZ, the irregular growth that an occur and common pests.
- Common Issues | Gourmet Garlic
COMMON ISSUES While garlic is a pretty hardy plant, i t can be affected by a range of pest species (nearly 100) and the first warning signs once planted is irregular 'roguing' growth. A garlic grower should be regularly inspecting the garlic growth to find the first signs of unusual growth earl y. The three main categories of garlic problems are diseases , unusual growth or and pests . Warning Signs Garlic is one of the most susceptible annuals to disease for three main reasons. Firstly the cloves and bulbils are clones of the plant so unlike seed it can carry forward and accumulates disease to future generations. Secondly bulbs grow in the damp soil and for a long time where they are exposed and vulnerable to a whole range of soil borne diseases. Thirdly there are few infield treatments to cure many garlic diseases. For bacterial and viral issues there is almost no treatment options, while fungal issues only has limited options. The best method is crop rotation, raising the soil, planting good stock and removing rogue shoots early. The first sign is the plant having smaller, yellowing or shriveled leaves compared to others in the bed. It is worth inspecting plants regularly to catch these rogue sick plants as they will never grow into healthy ones. Also, be careful to remove them including the surrounding soil before disposing. To leave sick plants in the soil increases the disease and affects soil health and nearby garlic. Most fungal issues can be reduced by practicing crop rotation (recommended 3+ years), choosing good planting stock, having good watering practices and planting a variety of garlic groups known as polyculture. Once shooting begins look out for the warning signs of disease or other non-uniform growth. While it is handy to have early season garlic like turbans and asiatics , the mid to late harvesting garlics are generally are less prone to seasonal pest and diseases as the season warms up. Garlic produces roots first, before sending out shoots. In mild-winter climates where cloves are planted shal l ower, shoots are likely to appear 1-2 weeks after planting. In such climates where the daytime temperature is above 12°C then leaf growth will continue through winter. In colder climates it can take up to six weeks for leaves to appear. In colder climates only 3-6 leaves will initially grow before the plant goes into dormancy. Once spring arrives and temperatures exceed 14°C, then leaf growth resumes. Note that standard purple stripe and sometimes the porcelain garlic group has an 'alien' early growth form where they lie flat with the ground. Porcelain is also known to be the most susceptible to having viruses. Diseases Garlic Rust (Puccina porri) There are 7,000 species of rust, but garlic rust ( Puccinia porri ) is a real th reat to garlic crops. This pathogenic fungi is prevalent, and seems to have infested every corner of our country. This fungal disease generally spreads from spores in the wind (it can travel long distances), animals, people and their machinery. Puccinia allii also infects other garden vegetables too such as leeks, onions, spring onions and chives, so it's best not to plant these in the same soil each year. More detailed information on garlic rust and how to prevent or treat it can be found on our garlic rust page. Garlic Rust Diseases Black Mould This generally charcoal coloured covering normally over the stalk and sometimes in some of the bulb wrappers (skin) with dark blotches. It is normally a cosmetic injury caused by pathogens Embellisia allii, and Aspergillus niger . These diseases sit in the soil on dead plant material and can infect the plant due to a bulb injury, or gain entry through the basal plate . It often occurs in warm dry climates such as Central Otago. The infection seems to occur more commonly on white wrapper garlic groups than red and from our experience the softneck garlics in particular the artichoke garlic group seems to get the worst infestations. Black mould typically visibly appears during the curing process if the bulbs have not dried properly. It occurs when the humidity levels are too high, curing spacing is tight and there is not sufficient ventilation flow. Fortunately, black mould can be prevented if bulbs can dry in well ventilated dry environments and can be reduced by removing some bulb wrappers before storing. Penicilium Moulds Penicillium corymbiferum is carried in the garlic bulb. The mould makes the clove soft and it will shrivel and reveal white to green or blue spores on the clove. The first signs if a clove with it is planted is the leaf yellowing and it looking different than other garlic plants. Moulds can occur more frequently when cloves are damaged or poorly stored. These moulds normally happen when cloves have been left too late for planting and their roots grow in cool and moist air conditions. Pull out the infected plant including the soil around the clove and you will notice the spores. While healthy bulbs can carry spores, only use clean planting stock to prevent this growth using a pre-treatment. Basal Rot (Fusarium root rot) Basal rot first appears in the field with young shoot yellowing. The fungus can continue to spread post-harvest with the thin basal plate rotting with a white mold appearing. The rot is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and thrives in warm and wet conditions. Remove and dispose of these plants at the first sign of disease. To reduce the chances in getting basal rot use disease-free bulbs, ensure crop rotation, proper spacing between plants, avoid root disturbance, overwatering, and overfertilising. Also cure bulbs as quickly and thoroughly as possible before storing. Neck Rot Neck rot also known as bacterial centre rot, is caused by several types of botrytis and also pantoea complex bacteria. It makes the pseudostem and cloves have a water-soaked coffee colour appearance. The infection can move into the bulb during storage and has no simple cure. To reduce the chances of neck rot consider pre-treatment before planting using a bleach soak for a few minutes. Ensure good air circulation for the crop and during storing. Also avoid bulb injury, excess soil nitrogen, too much watering or mulch around the plant. Soft Pink Rot Neck rot is a type of bacterial rot which is often not found until the garlic is cured and the garlic is cut for storage. Sometimes it can be spotted in the field when the stalk has a brown rot the centres of some of the leaves centres at the vein are water soaked, swollen and yellow-brown in appearance. It is caused by the a rod shaped bacterium called Erwina persicina and causes a pink appearance in the the stalk which sometimes travels down into the clove where rot can form. There is no solution to rid the rot but bactericides that contain copper can slow the spread of this disease. Fusarum Dry Rot Dry rot also known as 'storage rot' is a is a wet seaon or poor storage rot caused by Fusarium proliferatum fungi. All Fusarium diseases are latent and all garlic has some level of infection with most unseen. The first signs of the disease show up on the basal plate and roots and spread to form small brown lesions covering the clove. Avoid planting cloves with this fungi are their is no cure, so check while cracking garlic for soft tissue, and cloves with unusually pale, brown spots and loose skins. The pathogen overwinters in the soil and can be carried on the bulb. The best way to avoid the occurrence is to plant healthy cloves from quality bulbs, pre-treatment, crop rotation and avoid bulb injury during harvest and handling. White Rot White rot (Stromatinia cepivorum or Schlerotium cepivorum ) is a devastating fungal disease for the garlic grower. It can spell the end of garlic growing in a bed. The disease favours cool and moist soil conditions. Infection in soil temperature ranges from 10-23°C, with 15-18°C optimal for the fungus. Soils temperatures greater than 25°C have a low risk of developing this rot. Early signs are dark brown pigmentation which stain plant's neck or inner bulb skins or slimy bulb skin which soil sticks to the mycelium (white fungal threads). After a few seasons the disease in plants gets worse. The fungus creates black reproductive sclerotia which form small black poppy seed-like features in the white threads. At this stage clusters of plants dying back early and are easily pulled out due to their decayed roots and basal plate. White rot affects other allium specie s, and there is no effective organic treatment. The only option is to remove the soil or never grow alliums in the diseased soil. The disease can be still viable in the soil for 20+ years and can lay dormant for 50+ years before a allium species is planted. If the infected soil remains, the disease is likely to spread via animals and wind movement. Ensure that tools and gloves are sterilized as to not affect other areas. Plant clean stock. Use preventative pre-treatment measures if obtaining garlic from an unknown source such as briefly soaking the garlic clove at no more than 49°C to reduce the fungal spores. Also practice crop rotation. Pectobacterium carotovorum There is no common name for this plant bacteria. The pathogen can be present in many vegetables including garlic. In garlic, the disease affects clove and scape development. This results in single clove bulbs or fewer mis-shaped cloves, enlarged bulbils or neck bulbils on types that do not normally have them. The stalks can be also mis-shapen or have multiple stalks, can be pinkish in colour and is soft and spongy at the base. The leaves of the plant often have strong yellow edges all the way down leaves . The disease can arrive with new seed stock and there is no cure. The bacteria can be more common with overly wet soils. It is best to remove the plants from stock and avoid planting any cloves with symptoms. Garlic Mosaic Garlic Mosaic is caused by a range of viruses that is present in garlic, it's commonly caused by those of the potyvirus group. It causes angular striping and discolouration (yellow to light green) o f garlic leaves particularly in younger plants creating a mosaic pattern amongst the healthier darker green plant tissue. If severe, plants are often stunted and bulb size is reduced. The disease is transmitted from garlic stock (clonally propagated) and aphids. Most plants only show mild symptoms with only one type of virus, and are severely affected by several types. To reduce reoccurrence, cull affected plants to reduce the chances of the disease in next years crop. Other Diseases There are many other less common diseases which cause unusual growth habits of garlic plants. When the plants are shooting keep an eye on any rouge growth habits. Compare the shoots and early leaf growth to other nearby plants. If they are stunted, have unusual colour (ie. pink/red could be rhizoctonia or stemphylium) or discoloured or have wobbly growth then it is best to remove and disposed of these plants. If these plants are left to grow, the disease might spread to other plants and extend further into the soil affecting the health of plants in future years. Unusual Growth Unusual Growth S ide Sprouting (Witches Broom) Side sprouting also known as secondary shooting. It occurs when the bulb is still growing but the clove skins begin to sprout into leaves coming out of the pseudostem or false stem and into the top of the plant. Often this condition is called 'witches broom' and is caused by fluctuating weather extremes of hot and cold (typically cold), higher than usual rainfall or planting too early for the clove. It can be formed by planting store bought garlic that has been kept in cold storage, also vernalising for more than two months can have the same result. If planting in a cold winter area try planting a little later to avoid changeable weather at the plants vulnerable growing stage. This condition also occurs during bulb development and clove formation with excess nitrogen in the soil contributing to bulbs and cloves being bigger than usual. After harvesting such bulbs do not store them rather try to consume them within a month or two. Waxy Breakdown Waxy breakdown is a condition that normally develops after harvest (4-6 weeks after). It is not discovered until the bulb wrapper is removed revealing cloves with a soft waxy translucent appearance. The cloves initially appear yellow and in time transform into a orange colour and are normally become sticky. This physiological condition occurs as a result of very hot conditions prior to harvest, either too much sunlight during curing (avoid sunlight when curing), mild not hold curing conditions or poor ventilation during storage. Avoid planting cloves with waxy breakdown. Outside Cloves This where one or a few cloves begin to appear on the outside of the bulb wrapper which is often seen in the artichoke garlic group. These external cloves occur as a result of an early spring hot snap. The unusually hot weather will initiate clove development early in the lower leaves. When these leaves eventually die off and the outer cloves are exposed outside the main bulb wrapper. Providing they are not part of the fertile leaves (the last leaves to appear) these cloves will be viable for planting the following year. Double/Triple Shoots This condition is where sprouting seems to send out several shoots from the ground not just from one clove. This is as a result of not identifying joined cloves during cracking them out of the bulb pre-planting. When dividing them what appeared to be one clove was in fact several cloves. It is a good idea while cracking the bulb at the pre-planting stage to check the basal plate of extra large cloves to see whether they are doubles. This condition is easy to resolve if caught early by running your fingers into the soil between the shoots and pulling one away from the other gently to separate the roots. It should be possible to replant the extra shoot if caught early (less than 10cm high), and if there is room in the garden. The softneck types (silverskin and artichoke ) of garlic which have multiple layers of cloves that are very tightly bundled can make separating the cloves challenging. Sometimes, only a hairline fracture is barely visible between cloves. Generally, the single layer hardneck types are more uniform and easier to spot joined cloves. Sometimes this condition is outside our control. Bulbs divide into cloves well before bulbing. Clove division is actually is a result of tiny clove buds that swell into large cloves that make up the bulb. This can be impossible for any gardener to spot. Yellowing Leaves Leaf colour can also indicate a deficiency in the soil. This often occurs a month after sprouting when the clove no longer supplies nutrients for growth. If the leaf tip yellows around this time, it is likely frost damage, minor nutrient deficiency or nutrient imbalance. A little yellowing is normal unless you have very fertile soils where the leaves are a standard green. If the yellowing continues and advances into the season (and it's not a mould or rot) then there is a likelyhood it is either a serious disease, lack of water or a soil nutrient deficiency. If it's a disease, remove and dispose of the sick plant or plants. Note that leaf yellowing is not to be confused with maturity where leaves turn yellow from the leaf tip down beginning with the leaves at the bottom of the plant. Nutrient imbalances in garlic can generally be determined by the effect on their leaves . A lack of: Nitrogen - yellow leaf tips affecting oldest leaves first, each new leaf smaller, folded, stunted leading to purple veins at base of leaf Phosphorus - same as nitrogen except young leaves do not fold Potassium - deep yellowing of older leaf tips then leads to complete leaf yellowing Magnesium - mottling (chlorosis) affecting base first with lower leaves yellow Calcium - spotting on all leaves particularly the upper third which increase in size Rounds The occurrence of the bulb not dividing into cloves (called rounds) is difficult to determine pre-harvesting. This condition is a result of the cloves planted being too small, being planted too late in the season and not wintering over or if the weather conditions have been either too dry or wet. They can be still eaten (some imported garlics are rounds) or replanted the following year. It is typical to get rounds in the first year of growing bulbils before replanting over the next 1-2 years to get bulbs with cloves. Pests Pests Nematodes Nematodes or roundworms are microscopic to tiny creatures which there is thought to be over a million types. They have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem including the 35 species in humans and thousands of types in soils. Only a couple of types affect garlic; Pratylinchus species attack th e garlics roots while the Ditylynchus species which are 1.5mm long and attack the stems and bulbs. The damage to garlic is known as bulb and stem nematode or bloat nematode. They can be identified on a clove as tiny pimple-like spots or the brownish desiccated discoloration just above the basal plate where they have entered the plant. Once way to kill them from gloves is to soak the cloves in hot water (43 °C) for ten minutes before planting. For the soil, reduce populations by growing mustard seed family such as brassica plants then tilling the green plants into the soil as brassica are toxic to nematodes. It will take 3-4 years for the mustard seed family crops to release the compound that reduces nematode populations Otherwise avoid growing allium species in the same soil. Black Aphids Aphids, particularly black aphids can quickly infect garlic plants. These tiny oval insects which are 2-3mm long can be undetected at first before rapidly hatching to cover plants. They expand rapidly because female aphids give birth to other females, who are already pregnant when born. If there is only a few then you can pick them off. However it is difficult to get every one so they are best treated with neem oil which an organic and biodegradable treatment. A soil using a mustard family crop as mulch a month before planting will reduced the chances to getting aphids. Bulb Mite Bulb mites (typically Rhizoglyphus echinopus) is a tiny (0.5-1mm) type of mite. The mite burrows into the garlic basal plate and then migrate into the stem and cloves if there is sufficient moisture. They leave a hollowed out honeycombed soft void of rot to bulbs. In some cases the mites leave very small brown spots on the garlic cloves visible once the bulb wrapper and clove skins are removed. They may look like small fungal lesions starting, but by looking closely bulb mites might be spotted living under the skin of the clove. The spots create scars left behind from the bulb mite feeding. Pre-treat garlic before planting, use free draining soil in raised beds or mounded soil. Ensure that crops are rotated. Mites do not survive dry conditions and rapidly changing humidity. Bulb mites are more common in high ambient relative humidity around harvest time. Thus the most effective way to control bulb mite infestations is to cure the crop quickly after harvest (1-2 days via fans) rather than passive drying over a few weeks. Allow plenty of airflow around curing bulbs. Other Pests Other pests which might affect your NZ garlic include rats (pre-shooting), rabbits, slugs and thrips. It is possible to protect against some of these larger pest by installing fine netting and using neem soil or pyrethrum for smaller pests. It is best to quarantine new garlic for your garden into a separate bed if possible. This reduces the possible spread of any disease or pest from the source garlic in the first year or two.
- Test | Gourmet Garlic
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- Top 10 Tips | Gourmet Garlic
TOP 10 TIPS Disappointed each season with small, weak and poorly performing garlic bulbs? These are our top 10 tips for the best chances of harvesting the largest, healthiest and the best looking garlic bulbs. 1) Choose the right garlic type Each of the ten garlic groups prefers a particular climate zone. We have divided the country into three main garlic growing zones . Choosing the right garlic for your climate zone is the first step for growing big healthy garlic bulbs. 2) Prepare your garden bed Pick a sunny spot . I f possible use a garden bed which has not had any allium species (leek, onion, chives) in it for the past couple of years and ensure that your soil is rich in nutrients, light and well drained. Our guide offers more detail on garden preparation. 3) Pick the best time to plant The old saying 'plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest' is a very rough guideline. Planting really depends on your climate zone and the type of garlic grown. Check out our planting guide for when to plant. 4) Find big cloves from big bulbs It's so important to only plant big cloves from big bulbs - research shows this provides the best results. Planting small cloves will almost always return poor results. If possible try to obtain bulbs from a higher altitude and southern latitude from your garden. These cloves from such bulbs will have more vigour when taken to a warmer and lower elevation. 5) Follow best planting practices Plant cloves not bulbs. The clove tip should sit to the top, and ideally planted 20x20cm apart and 2-7cm deep (the colder the deeper). For more planting information following our planting guide . 6) Dispose of the rogues Find the rogues! Keep a close eye on your crop for common problems or unusual coloration of leaves. Whether this be yellowing (nutrient or an infection), brooming, or multiple shoots. If it's affecting the occasional plant then dispose of it, if there are many then it might be a nutrient deficiency, a disease or a pest. 7) Fertilise y our soils While it is important to have your soils rich in nutrients prior to planting, it' s more important to put on th e right fert iliser at the right time. Choose organic slow release nitrogen fertiliser at regular intervals in spring (eg. blood and bone) for leaf growth. At maximum leaf number ( in most places 10-12), stop and change to an organic slow release potassium fertiliser (eg. potash) to enhance bulbing. 8) Weed, weed and weed! Garlic hates competition. Some growers use mulch to suppress weeds , while others do the hard mahi by hand. Either way, weed free soil ensures the best chance of larger bulbs. 9) Remove the scapes Most hardneck garlic will produce a scape, especially if you live in a cool to cold winter climate. While some hardneck garlics respond differently to scape removal, but it's best to remove the scape to give you a greater chance of a 10-30% bigger bulb. 10) Know when to harvest Harvest time depends on your climate zone and type of garlic grown. Harvest too early and bulbs have not matured, while harvesting too late results in the bulb skin splitting and will not store as long. Stop watering a month out , and follow our harvesting guide to know when to harvest your big healthy garlic bulbs.
- Garlic Picker | Gourmet Garlic
GARLIC PICKER Unsure of which garlic type you wish to grow? Our flowchart will help based on your climate zone and other favorable characteristics of your pick. Identification Flowchart The flowchart below is a useful guide to quickly pick a garlic group. Most garlics grow in all NZ's regions, but some are more suited and grow better for certain climate zones. Choose the most desirable characteristics you are after and the char t will help you along the way. What is your winter climate zone? Mild Climate Mild Winter Climate What characteristics are sought? Early Harvesting These garlics are ready to harvest in early November in mild winter climates Long Storing These garlics can keep for 12+ months if stored in a cool and dry place out of sunlight Plentiful Cloves These garlics generally have 8+ cloves per bulb giving a good number for replanting & eating Great Tasting These garlics are known for their great taste for a range of cooking methods Plait/Braiding Plants These softneck garlic stalks, (particularly silverskins) are able to be plaited for storage Cool Climate Cool Winter Climate What characteristics are sought? Long Storing These garlics can keep for 12+ months if stored in a cool and dry place out of sunlight Plentiful Cloves These garlics generally have 8+ cloves per bulb giving a good number for replanting & eating Great Tasting These garlics are known for their great taste for a range of cooking methods Easy Peeling These garlics have thick or papery skins making them easier to peel Plait/Braiding Plants These softneck garlic stalks, (particularly silverskins) are able to be plaited for storage Cold Climate Cold Winter Climate What characteristics are sought? Medium Storing These garlics can keep for 6+ months if stored in a cool and dry place out of sunlight Plentiful Cloves These garlics generally have 8+ cloves per bulb giving a good number for replanting & eating Great Tasting These garlics are known for their great taste for a range of cooking methods Easy Peeling These garlics have thick or papery skins making them easier to peel Harsh Winter Survival These garlics love super cold winters and are known to survive harsh winter extremes
- Garlic Scapes | Gourmet Garlic
GARLIC SCAPES The scapes are the garlic's flower stem and are mostly associated with hard neck garlics. Before harvesting, hardnec k garlic typically sends up a scape which normally curls then straightens before the garlic is harvested (softneck garlic can scape when stressed). Semi-bolting hardneck types ( creole , turban , asiatic ) in milder-winter areas do not necessarily produce a scape. The garlic plant puts energy into forming the scape so many growers remove them to direct the plants resources into developing the bulb. We have found there is a direct correlation of bulb size and scape removal of around 10-30%. On the flip side scapes left during curing result in the bulb drawing more nutrients during the drying process and it is likely they will store longer. Different types of garlic are more affected if the scape is not removed. Creole , porcelain , rocambole , purple stripe types respond well to scape removal, producing larger bulbs while turbans and asiatics less so. In saying that, some growers believe rocambole is minimally impacted by scape removal. As a general rule, garlic types which produce the tallest, thickest and largest scapes will grow larger bulbs if the scape is removed. Some growers have found that by leaving the scape on during drying that the plant's bulbs are harder as well as storing longer. An example of a Turban scape is pictured below. We remove the scape before they begin to curl, before they are longer than 20cm tall. Some growers including ourselves believe the earlier the better. Other growers remove the scape once they curl. There is no scientific evidence to support either approach as to when to remove the scape. If removing the scape, do so on a dry day so the break can heal cleanly without introducing infection and disease. When you see the firm stalk rise up from the middle of the leaves snap (not pull) it off the stalk by hand (if the scape is small) or with secateurs below the umbel before it widens. If the scape is pulled, it may result in the pseudostem becoming weak and will let water down into the bulb. The scape can be sauteéd, be part of a salad or stir fried as mentioned under the eating section .
- Porcelain | Gourmet Garlic
Porcelain Garlic Group Late Season| Med ium Storing | 2-6 cloves The Beauty: Large teardrop form, produces a few massive cloves, is at the top of its field Porcelain like Rocambole garlics grows best in cold climates with very cold winters. This garlic group produces the least number of cloves per bulb and typically has a white papery bulb wrapper. It's probably the easiest garlic to peel cloves they almost rub off with ease. It grows best in a cold winter climate . Porcelain is a strongly-bolting hardneck type meaning it sends up a flower scape with a solid stem which is not braidable. It has a simple strongly sulfurous garlic taste and has the highest allicin content of any garlic type. Characteristics Clove & Bulb Appearance The bulb is normally tear drop shape d , generally has a white papery wrapper (skin) and contains between 2-6 cloves - this is the least number of cloves per garlic bulb of all the groups. The bulbs have a single layer of cloves. Generally all cloves from a standard-sized bulb are of a suitable size for planting. The clove skin is a tan colour, fat, wedge-shaped and easy peeling. They are known to have the highest allicin (the sulfuric bio-active antibiotic in garlic) yield of any garlic. The clove probably the easiest garlic to peel since the skin is so papery and does not tend to stick to the clove. The lack of clove numbers makes Porcelain garlic very distinctive from other garlic, thus they are not typically a commercially viable crop. They have a medium storage life of around 7-8 months after harvest. Bulbils T his hardneck garlic sends out a scape (flower stalk) particularly in colder climates. They typically produce a massive number (100-200) of small grain-of-rice-size cream bulbils - more than any other garlic. Growing from a bulbil can take 3-5 years to produce a normal-sized garlic. L eaves & Scapes Porcelain garlic have wide upright leaves that are a vibrant green c olour. Scapes shape can be very random, often they are a downward 'U' shape, with a umbel that is short, narrow and green. Scapes tend to be very tall prior to harves t and the mature spathe is white. The juvenile garlic leaf is very stumpy and robust.
- Rocambole | Gourmet Garlic
Rocambole Garlic Group Late Season| Short Storing | 7-14 cloves The Chef: Culinary perfection and renowned as the tastiest with a sweet nutty flavour Rocambole like Porcelain garlics grows best in cold climates with very cold winters. This garlic group produces several tan coloured cloves per bulb and typically has a purple blush on its bulb wrapper. For a strongly bolting hardneck garlic, it only has a short storage life. It grows best in a cold winter climate . This garlic is a strongly-bolting hardneck type meaning it sends up a flower scape with a solid stem which is not braidable. This garlic is considered to be the finest and most flavoursome. It has a deep, sweet and nutty flavour which is creamy and buttery and rich in oils resulting in it having on of the best garlic tastes. It is also excellent raw (not sulphurous). Characteristics Clove & Bulb Appearance The bulb is normally a round shape, generally has a white with a purple blush wrapper (skin), and contains between 7-14 cloves. The bulbs have a single layer of cloves. Generally all cloves of a standard size bulb are of a size suitable for planting. The wedge-shaped cloves' skin is a dull tan colour with purple blush and are very easy peeling. Clove skins have a tendency to split and double cloves are common. The ir easy peeling quality and excellent flavour makes this garlic ideal in the kitchen, but it is commercially uneconomic due to its short storage life of around 5-6 months after harvest. Bulbils T his hardneck garlic sends out a scape (flower stalk) particularly in colder climates. They typically produce a small amount of extra large bulbils (10-25) with a purple to dark purple blush and are of a similar size to asiatic bulbils. As a result, growing from a bulbil normally takes just two years to produce a normal sized garlic. L eaves & Scapes Roca mbole have narrow upright green leaves . The scape shape is unusual in that they often produce 1-3 loops with a wide green umbel, with the spathe turning white when mature. The juvenile garlic leaf is plump and robust.
- Standard Purple Stripe | Gourmet Garlic
Standard Purple Stripe Group Late Season| Med Storing | 8-12 cloves The Godfather: The easy peeling garlic from which all other garlic groups originate ... best of all this wild one's the sweetest Standard Purple Stripe garlic grows best in cold climates with cold winters. It is considered the most closely related to the original wild garlic, from which all other garlic originated, before being classified into the ten garlic groups now recognised. This garlic group produces several tan coloured cloves and typically has a purple hue on it s bulb wrapper. It grows best in a cool to cold winter climate . Standard Purple Stripe is a strongly-bolting hardneck type meaning it sends up a flower scape with a solid stem which is not braidable. This garlic is considered to have a great all round taste that is rich, spicy, strong - a fusion of different flavours. Characteristics Clove & Bulb Appearance The bulb is normally a round shape, generally it i s white with purple hues on its wra pper (skin) which contains between 8-12 cloves. The cloves 'hug' the pseudostem . The bulbs have a single layer of cloves. Generally all cloves of a standard-sized bulb are of a size suitable for planting. The cloves are smaller than many hardneck garlics and have a long cresce nt shape, angular edges and a long tail/tip. The clove skin is a dull tan colour with a purple blush. The cloves are easy peeling. The easy peeling nature of this garlic makes them ideal in the kitchen, while they have a medium storage life of around 7-9 months after harvest. Bulbils Standard purple stripe is a hardneck garlic which sends out a scape (flower stalk) particularly in colder climates. They typically produce a large amount (80-140) of small cream to pink coloured bulbils . L eaves & Scapes Standard Purple Stripe garlic has a wide, floppy tipped green-yellow leaf . Scapes normally form as a 3/4 loop with a wide green-yell ow umbel . The juvenile garlic leaf is unusual in that it splays sideways laying flat to the soil. Some growers label their early growing form as being a bit 'alien' like.