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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

  • Test | Gourmet Garlic

    TEST This is a test page, generally not seen by users. Please return to the main menu. tEST The g

  • Creole | Gourmet Garlic

    Creole Garlic Group Mid Season | Long Storing | 5-10 cloves The Flamboyant: this small one is hot, dresses in vibrant rosy clove skins, and is a real crowd-pleaser Creole is a very popular mid-season semi-hardneck garlic. It grows best in warmer climates with mild winters. This garlic group produces several cloves per bulb with strongly coloured rose to crimson clove skins. It grows best in a mild winter climate ​ . The Creole is a semi-bolting hardneck type meaning it generally sends up a flower scape with a relatively solid stem which is not braidable. This garlic might not produce scapes when grown in warmer climates if not vernalised . The garlic has a very hot, complex and spicy garlic taste which is considered to be a sweet, rich and exceptional flavour. Characteristics Clove & Bulb Appearance The bulb is normally round and generally has a white to cream bulb wrapper (skin) containing between 5-10 cloves. The bulbs are typically small er than most garlic varieties and have a single layer of cloves. Generally all cloves of a standard-sized bulb are of a size suitable for planting. The clove skin (not to be confused with the bulb skin) has a distinctive bright rose, burgundy to crimson colour. The cloves are typically wedge shaped with a sharp inner edge and will store for 12+ months in ideal conditions - one of the longest of any garlic type. Bulbils T his hardneck garlic generally sends out a scap e (flower stalk) particularly in colder climates. They typically produce 30-40 medium purple bulbils . Leaves & Scapes Creoles have a r eally wide leaf which is very short and tend to fold over halfway up. The leaf colour is pale green to yellow. Scapes tend to form a downward 'U' shape, with a slim yellow-g reen umbel .

  • 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

  • Marbled Purple Stripe | Gourmet Garlic

    Marbled Purple Stripe Group Late Season| Med ium Storing | 4 -9 cloves The Baker: This easy - peeler is known for its tastiness when roasted Marbled Purple Stripe garlic grows best in cold climates with cold winters. It is known for it s consistently large cloves. This garlic group produces several tan and purple coloured cloves on a purple marbled hue cream bulb wrapper. It grows best in a cool to cold winter climate ​. The 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 great for roasting with its sweet, hot flavour. It is more sulphurous than Standard Purple Stripe garlic. Characteristics Clove & Bulb Appearance The bulb of this garlic type normally has a round , squat shape and is generally a cream colour with a purple dappled or marbled wrapper (skin) appearance. The bulbs have a single layer of 4-9 cloves. Generally, all cloves of a standard-sized bulb are of a size suitable for planting. The clove size is normally large and has a wedge like appearance . The clove skin is a dull tan colour with purple blush and is easy peeling. The ir easy-peeling nature makes them ideal in the kitchen and have a hot and sweet taste . They have a medium storage life of around 6-7 months after harvest. Bulbils T his hardneck garlic sends out a scape (flower stalk) particularly in colder climates. They typically produce a moderate amount (20-60) of medium purple to dark purple co loured bulbils . If trying to experiment to grow true garlic seed (not a clone as from cloves or bulbils) then m arbled purple stripe is the garlic most likely to succeed in producing the elusive tiny black seeds. Leaves & Scapes Marbled Purple Stripe garlic has a wide floppy pale green leaf . Scapes normally forms as a 3/4 loop with a wide green-blue umbel with a short purple blush which appears on the base of the immature spathe.

  • Glossary | Gourmet Garlic

    GARLIC GLOSSARY While we have tried to keep our website and garlic growing guide simple to use, however our glossary might help with some explanations Annual - A plant which completes its lifecycle in one year Alliin - An amino acid present in fresh garlic which when disturbed allinase converts into allicin Allicin - The sulphur containing amino acid which once disturbed converts to cystine creating the garlic smell and taste Alliinase - A catalyst enzyme which causes the chemical change of allicin to allicin Artichoke - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of two softneck garlics Asiatic - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics Basal Plate - The part of the plant which the roots grow out of which is actually the garlic's true stem containing root buds Beak - The top of the scape or flower stalk where is narrows down to end point. The beak can be long or short depending on the garlic group Biennial - A plant which requires two years to complete its lifecycle, garlic technically is a biennial but we harvest it as an annual Bolt - The arrival of the garlic's flower stalk which extends upwards from the leaves. Softneck garlic do not generally bolt, semi-bolting in cool/cold winters usually bolt, while strongly bolting garlic groups always bolt Bract - A modified leaf such as a garlic spathe Bud - The leafy shoot as it begins to grow. There are also root buds which are in the basal plate Bulb - The swollen and round shaped unground stem which generally contain a layer or several layers of cloves Bulb Formation - A period late in the season where the plant transfers it's energy from leaf to bulb growth and when the bulb begins to swell Bulb Wrapper - The thin papery outer layer of the bulb skin Bulbil - The small secondary bulbs normally located in the umbel or stem of the plant Bulblets - Small bulbs or clove like structures that grow beside the parent bulb Clone - In reference to garlic it is a genetic replica of the plant. Bulbs, cloves and bulbils are clones, while true seed is not Clove - One of several divisions inside a bulb that is made up of many individual lobes. Most gardeners plant the clove into the soil Clove Layers - In hardneck garlic typcially cloves are stacked radially around a bulb, while a softneck has 2-3 clove layers where cloves get smaller in the innermost layers Clove Skin - The hard yet thin outer layer of the clove (it is actually a separate leaf unconnected with the clove Cracking - Also known as 'popping', is when garlic cloves are separated from the bulb on the day or the following before planting the clove Cre ole - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics Cultivar - A c ultivated variety. Technically the different garlic groups are cultivars not varieties Curing - The process of hanging and drying out garlic after harvesting for several weeks prepare the bulb for longterm storage Cysteine - The amino acid that is responsible for the pungency of garlic smell and taste. Normally it is stable and odourless, however once disturbed it gives off the garlic fragrance Day-Length Sensitivity - All garlic is sensitive to the changing day lengths and when moving garlic across latitudes can affect the growth before the plant recovers from climatisation Dieback - The process of the leaves yellowing to a brown shade normally at near the onset of a bulb maturing before harvest . Dieback can also be caused from disease, pests, nutrient deficiency or weather Double Cloves/Shoots - A clove which has more than one vegetative buds which when planted forms double or multiple shoots Pseudostem/False Stem - The plant's stalk. The true stem is actually the basal plate Climate Zones - Grouping of similar regional weather pattern. In NZ there are three main climate zones for garlic being mild, cool and cold winter areas. There are thousands of local micro-climates Clove Skin - The hard yet thin outer layer of the clove (it is actually a separate leaf unconnected with the clove Cold Climate/Winter - In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the mid to lower North Island and South Island which is at higher elevations receives greater than a cool winter normally consisting of severe frosts for prolonged periods Cool Climate/Winter - In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the mid to lower North Island and South Island which is at lower elevations receives neither a mild or cold winter F1 - The term for hybrids or cultivars of plants obtained by modern breeding methods False Stem - Also known as the psedostem of the stalk of the garlic plant as botanically the feature is actually elongated leaf bases wrapped around tightly Flowerhead - Also called the umbel or topset consisting of bulbils and flowers Garlic - One of 800 Allium species, but only one of seven that are cultivated. The word originates from Anglo-Saxon, 'Gar' meaning spear and 'leac' being leek Garlic Groups - A c ultivated variety. Technically the different garlic groups are cultivars not varieties Garlic Rust - A fungal disease which forms round white then orange rusty spots on a plant. Glazed Purple Stripe - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics Grade - The size category of the bulb. Grading is normally undertaken commercially, however gardeners should grade to pick the largest cloves from largest bulbs planting the following year Green Garlic - Freshly harvested garlic that has not been dryed/cured Hardneck - Also known as a red garlic or topset, is a garlic that produces a scape and umbel Leaf Blade - The thin flat part of the leaf Leaf Sheath - The base of the leaf which wraps around the stalk or false stem Leaf Tip - The end of each leaf Marbled Purple Stripe - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics Maturity - The period to which the plant has finished growing and the bulb is ready for harvesting being at full size without deterioration Mild Climate/Winter - In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the northern part of the North Island which receives more warmer winters Neck - The top of the bulb and the base of the stalk Neck Bulbils - Bulbils which form along the stalk or garlic's false stem sometimes found in artichoke garlic types Nitrogen - Is a naturally occurring chemical element, and is one of the most important nutrients for a garlic's plant leaf growth. Natural sources of nitrogen for your garlic bed include blood and bone, coffee grounds, nitrogen fixing cover crops (peas, beans or other legumes), fish emulsion, grass clippings, leaves, and animal manure Non-bolting - One of the two soft neck garlic groups (silverskin and artichoke ) that generally does not send up a scape Ophio Garlic - A Latin term meaning 'serpent', an old term used for the eight semi or strongly bolting garlic that typically sends up a scape flower stalk Psedostem - The false stem of the stalk of the garlic plant as botanically the feature is actually elongated leaf bases wrapped around tightly Popping - Also known as 'cracking', is when garlic cloves are separated from the bulb on the day or the following before planting the clove Potassium - Is a naturally occurring chemical element, and is one of the most important nutrients for a garlic's bulb growth. Natural sources of potassium are wood ash, banana peels and compost made from food scraps and seaweed Porcelain - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics Quarantine - A bed which is used for the planting of new cloves which is isolated from other garlic where bulbs have potential to import disease or pest risk. Quarantine normally lasts 1-2 years Rocambole - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics Roots - The organs of the plant which are underground and form out of basal plate Rotation - Refers to crop rotation for annual crops to reduce the risk of disease and replenish nutrients. Garlic should be not planted in the same bed location ideally for at least three years Rounds - The term for when a clove produces a single bulb with no individual cloves. This normally occurs for most first generation bulbils, early harvested bulbs or poorly performing bulbs Rust - Garlic Rust (Puccina porri ) is a persistent pathogenic fungi affecting plants during the bulbing period Sativum - A Latin term meaning 'cultivated', an old term often referring to softneck garlics Seed - Technically the seed of garlic is 'true seed' formed in the flowerhead. All other plantable stock (bulbs, cloves and bulbils) are actually clones and not seed. It is common-place to hear bulbs being called seed garlic or garlic seed ​Scape - Also known as a flower stalk it rises out of the bulb on hardneck garlics to produce the flowerhead. Scapes can be picked early to increase bulb size and can be used for culinary dishes Semi-bolting - One of the three hardneck garlic groups (turban , creole and asiatic ) that generally send up a scape unless in a warmer winter zone Silverskin - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of two softneck garlics Softneck - Also known as 'white garlic' i s a garlic that does not produces a scape and umbel (silverskin and artichoke ) and are easier to plait for storing Spathe - The covering and enclosing the flower cluster and bulbils which extends to the beak Species - Garlic is just one species (sativum of the allium genus). The ten garlic groups are cultivars of the species Split Bulb/Skin - When a bulb has been harvested too late and the cloves are pushing away from the centre of the bulb breaking open the bulb wrapper Strain - The lowest division of plant classification, in reference to garlic is is the small variations of cultivars/garlic groups that can be used to label a particular garlic. Often commercial growers will brand a garlic which has certain characteristics as a result of the areas mirco-climate, soils or local factors which influence a garlic group. The creole group or cultivar has a popular strain called Ajo Roja Standard Pur ple Stripe - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics Strongly-bolting - One of the five hardneck garlic groups (porcelain, rocambole and the three purple stripe groups) that sends up a scape Topset - Also known as a hardneck, is a garlic that produces a scape and umbel True Seed - Technically the tiny black seed formed in the flowerhead. All other plantable stock (bulbs, cloves and bulbils) are actually clones and not seed. It is common-place to hear bulbs being called seed garlic or garlic seed True Stem - The flat base of the bulb being the basal plate, not above the bulb which are leaves or the false stem Turban - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics Umbel -The flowerhead at the top of the scape which includes the bulbils, flowers, spathe and beak Vegetative Reproduction - Any plant grown asexually and reproduced vegetatively such as garlic bulbs, cloves and bulbils. Garlic 'true seed' comes from the flowerhead from sexual reproduction Vernalisation - Either natural or artificial cooling for several weeks in order to initiate garlic's bulb development Wild Garlic - Naturally uncultivated garlic

  • Garlic Guru | Gourmet Garlic

    GARLIC GROWING GUIDE The ten steps of growing garlic Becoming A Garlic Guru Do you have a passion for growing garlic? If you can successfully grow bulbs from cloves (Level 1 - see below) then consider taking it to level 2 to successfully grow garlic bulbs from bulbils . To be a 'Garlic Guru' complete the first two levels, then try to grow garlic's 'true seed '. Growing garlic from true seed is a slower process than using cloves to propagate, but it allows growers to develop new garlic varieties and maintain genetic diversity in their crops. Garlic Guru Levels There are three levels to achieve. Each is a greater challenge and takes more time to achieve. Level 1 - Cloves (Entry Level) Follow our garlic growing guide to progress to the next level . You achieve Level 1 status once you have successfully: joined and contributed at least one post on the NZ Garlic Guru Facebook page; AND grown a bulb of any garlic group (ideally a group best suited to your climate) to at least XL grade (70mm+ width). Note: Elephant garlic is not garlic; AND gift the XL grade bulb to another gardener to grow - share the love! This goal may take between 1-3 years to achieve . Level 2 - Bulbils (Advanced) Learn how to grow bulbils by following the growing bulbil section. To achi eve this level you have to successfully: harvest bulbils* from your own garlic plant; AND plant the bulbils from your own crop; AND harvest bulbs that contain cloves that were grown originally from your own bulbils. *This goal might be a greater challenge in the Far North. This level may take between 2-5 years to achieve . Level 3 - True Seed (Garlic Guru) Persevere by researching the growing true seed section on this page. To achieve level 3 Garlic Guru status : join the True Garlic Seed Growers NZ Facebook page, AND harvest true seed* from your own garlic and video it; AND plant the true seed which grows into bulbs and video it; AND share your success and videos with the True Garlic Seed Growers NZ Facebook page *This goal might be an even greater challenge in the Far North. Level 3 while possible, may take a lifetime or possibly several lifetimes to achieve! Growing Bulbils Growing Bulbils Growing garlic bulbils is a medium-term goal. They are small secondary bulbs normally produced in th e flower cluster (umbel ) beside the flowers. In botany, a bulbil (also called a bulbel or bulblet) form on other types of plants and are defined as a secondary bulb located in the angle between a leaf and stem or in place of flowers such as with garlic. Bulbils are called offsets when full-sized, and if left fall to produce new plants. There are many good reasons to grow bulbils despite them taking 1-5 years (depending on the garlic type) as they: are a quick way of obtaining stock are economical than buying bulbs but are slower to develop reduce the risk of soil-borne disease revitalise bulb size and condition are great raw in salads, on pizzas or to spice up a meal The softneck garlic types silverskin and artichoke do not normally produce the scape flower stem nor bulbils. Also, the semi-bolting garlic types turban , creole and asiatic may not produce scapes in mild-winter areas. Thus some garlic will not form bulbils unless they are put under environmental stress. We are lucky here in the cold deep south, as most years we get some bulbils from all our garlic groups. Growing a garlic scape (without removing it) for most garlic groups will result in smaller bulb sizes. We discuss this in the section on scape removal . In brief, not removing the scape to try to grow bulbils will result in the bulb size being 10-30% smaller. Depending on the garlic group, bulbils take between 2-5 years to produce mature-sized bulbs containing cloves not just rounds without cloves. The rate of maturity depends on the climate, soils and bulbil size as each garlic group produces different sized bulbils. The larger the bulbil the quicker the formation of a good-sized bulb. Garlic Bulbil Guide Collecting Bulbils The quickest way of getting bulbils is to get them from a fellow garlic gardener or to buy them. Gourmet Garlic are the only NZ supplier of bulbils. They can be found in our online shop . Each year we sacrifice the size of some of our bulbs to produce bulbils for our interested garlic growers. When you are growing to produce garlic bulbils from your own plants, in year one (if your climate permits), grow a strongly bolting garlic such as porcelain , rocambole , standard purple stripe , marbled purple stripe or a glazed purple stripe . These are the most reliable garlic groups to grow bulbils from. Let the scape grow, and at harvest time remove the plant to cure much like a garlic bulb. It is best to cut off the scape at this time and store it separately in an open container, allowing it to to dry out of the sun and weather. This will ensure that any bulbils that come loose do not get trampled, mixed with others or lost as they cure. Store them in a dry cool spot in an aerated paper bag until planting time. Planting Bulbils Surprisingly, bulbils can be planted at the start of spring when daily temperatures reach around 18 °C . This reduces the chance of the bulbils scaping and shortens the time taken to produce large bulbs. However, some growers still recommend a cooling winter is best for bulbil growth. If planting in a mild/cool winter area, you may consider pre-cooling them before planting. Plant bulbils closer together than standard cloves, ideally in a separate area of the garden. These small plants will need a bit of care as weeds or other garden plants can shade them out. It is easy to mix them up with your standard crop - you don't want to lose track of these ones! You will need a little more room for the larger bulbil plants from asiatic and rocambole garlic types as they are from larger bulbils. In the first year prepare damp soil in a tray, pot, or in your garden bed and gently sprinkle the bulbils onto the soil. Put a light covering (mm not cm) of fine soil on top of them. Studies have reported that bulbils are more productive and winter-hardy than using standard cloves. Ensure that the soil does not dry out and that there is sufficient soil depth for them to grow roots (10cm+). Shoots will appear quickly, and after a few months in summer they will dry out. If scapes appear remove them to give the bulbil the best chance for bulb production. Harvest the small bulbil's bulb when the leaves dry out. Cure and store them just like any garlic bulb. At harvest the bulbil bulb will be a several times larger than the bulbil you planted. If you are growing from a large bulbil such as asiatic or rocambole you are likely to end up with a round bulb often with cloves. These large bulbil bulbs can be about 30mm wide. Medium sized bulbils normally produce rounds 20mm wide and the smallest bulbils from groups like porcelain , standard purple stripe and glazed purple stripe only form 10mm wide rounds. The following year plant the bulbil bulb just like a normal bulb. Be aware of the climatic zone you live in and use our planting page to know when to plant. Larger bulbils normally take two years to produce normal sized bulbs with cloves, while other groups might take another year or two longer. Growing True Seed Growing True Seed Growing garlic's 'true seed' is a long-term goal. It is something to aspire to. T here are probably less gardeners in the country that have managed to successfully get fertile garlic true seed from their plants than the number of cloves on a porcelain garlic bulb. So w hat is Garlic's True Seed? There is much confusion in gardening circles about what constitutes garlic seed. Visit an online auction or a grower's website and bulbs or cloves (and rarely bulbils) are referred to as ' garlic seed for planting'. This is not technically correct as these are all clones of the plant. True seed is the tiny black seed formed on the umbel flower head as a result of sexual reproduction. Some people may use the term 'seed garlic' to describe clones, while 'garlic seed' is true seed. Garlic seed was not recognised and widely available in modern era until the 1990's. For thousands of years widespread cultivation around the globe using cloves or bulbils to produce a bulb resulted in a decline of the plants' ability to sexually reproduce. Thus the most popular commercial garlic crops have lost their ability to bolt and form flowers. For most crops, like onions (which garlic seed looks similar to but is smaller than) when a cultivar produces a desirable trait such as a resistance to a disease, it can then be propagated asexually to produce clones. Likewise in nature. Random selection retains desirable characteristics to benefit the plant's survival. Absence of genetic renewal means garlic is not able to adapt to new conditions, threats or changing global climatic conditions. For the grower it also results in having to retain 10-25% of the bulbs for replanting rather than using seed. However, in the 1980's fertile garlic strains were collected in a small town near the Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia - the origins of wild garlic. These were primarily strongly bolting purple stripe garlic types such as standard purple stripe , marbled purple stripe and glazed purple stripe which are most genetically similar to wild garlic plus a limited number of porcelain and rocambole too. These collected plants managed to grow fertile true seed. This inspired growers to try growing garlic's true seed themselves . The garlic plant's umbel contains small individual flowers which are tightly packed in between bulbils. The bulbils compete for nutrients and light with the flowers which the bulbils generally out compete. When the umbel matures, the bulbils begin to fall off which offers more light for the flowers which have withered by this stage. While it is possible to get true seed without removing bulbils - there's a greater chance of growing true seed by removing the competing bulbils. When the scapes begin to curl, they can be cut and placed in a bucket of water. Some true seed growers do this instead of waiting for pollination or if there are pests, windy or wet conditions, if it's regularly too hot (>30 °C) or if there is a prolonged cold (<18 °C) period. The scapes will continue to grow and eventually produce bulbils. The bucket of water serves to keep the scapes hydrated and to encourage the growth of bulbils. After a few weeks, the bulbils can be harvested and planted to grow new garlic plants. This technique has a lower success rate. It's also important to know that garlic flowers are protandrous, meaning the male antlers release pollen a few days before the female stigma is ready. Thus they rely on other nearby flowers and pollinators to become fertile. The flowering period is about 1-3 weeks during which insect pollinators (bees, flies etc) can come in contact with the flowers and spread the pollen. It is also possible artificially pollinate using a fine paint brush. How to grow fertile Garlic Tru e Seed There is a series of steps that should be followed to get the best results in producing fertile true seed. Step 1 - Pick it Right Grow several strongly bolting garlic clove s in a cool to cold winter zone . You need a cooler climate to ensure the garlic creates a scape. Standard purple stripe garlic has the greatest potential success for true seed since it's the closest genetically to wild garlic. However the bulbils are some of garlic's smallest making it incredibly difficult to extract them. An easier option is using marbled purple stripe since they have medium sized bulbils compared to fine bulbils of the other purple stripes and porcelains. It has been suggested that the marbled purple stripe group is good also because they generally have a thicker scape or flowering stalk then other purple stripe garlic. Let the plant send up a scape. In order to prolong the plant's life continue to water and feed the plant to support its health. Step 2 - The Tricky Part Keep an eye on the scape and wait for it to uncoil and point towards the sky. It might be necessary to carefully cut the spathe open to expose the bulbils and flowers. Take care. Remove the bulbils without impacting the flowers as much as possible. This is a tricky and tedious task. Consider using tweezers to remove them as they are very tightly packed in a growing umbel. Removing the first bulbil ma y be the trickiest part of this process - this creates an initial gap. When pulling the bulbil up, try to extract it from its base and remove its entire length. There might be some flower causalities during the first few bulbil extractions. Step 3 - Mind the Gap Once the first few bulbils are removed and a gap is created in the umbel, try to get the rest of the bulbils out by rocking them towards the newly created empty space. Try not to crush the bulbils and flowers as you remove them. If there is a tricky spot, leave the plant for a few days and the bulbils will realign which will make it easier to remove them later along with any crushed ones. The aim is to keep as many flowers intact as possible. Step 4 - Keep Watch Keep watch for garlic seed - most fertile garlic types have purple anthers. It is possible to detect a fertilised flower because they will have swollen ovaries which will yield seed at maturity. Note that each ovary has three chambers, each part contains two ovules - so it is possible to get six seeds per flower. Seed is tiny. Tiny! It is black with an irregular grain shape similar to onion seed, but only half their size. It takes around a month and a half to two months for seed to be produced once pollinated. Extract the seed and consider applying a weak bleach treatment to the seed to reduce disease. Also consider pre-cooling before planting. Step 5 - Plant and Cross Fingers While growing true seed is quite an achievement, developing fertile true seed is the end goal. Most first-generation seed will be undersized and infertile (possibly slightly more than 10% will be viable). Later generations will have better fertility, and after several generations most seed will grow. After a few generations seed producing garlic will produce an astonishing 600 seeds per umbel. Plant true seed much like the bulbil planting process with only mm not cm of quality fine seed raising mix covering them. Use a spray bottle to water and control soil moisture early on in their development. If possible, grow them indoors in late winter to give them the best chance of survival and to ensure the largest possible rounds. It will take them a week to sprout (most viable seeds about a fortnight), while weak seeds might take a couple of months. If starting them indoors wait until they are hardy, then harden them off and plant the seedlings outside in large pots or into the ground. The first generation plants from true seed are likely to be weak and very slow growing. Keep your fingers crossed as they are at a higher vulnerability to disease than cloves or bulbils at this stage. It can take up to four months for the plant to get its first leaves. Some plants might have irregular growth but future generations will be stronger, having less bulbils and more viable seed. Occasionally, plants can flower in the first year, although typically it is the following year when they will produce a bulb which flowers. With sexual reproduction there can be much variation in future plants' growth. Some plants might become softnecks, others might have few or no bulbils or other interesting characteristics which our current clones never develop. From there it is possible to selectively breed the desirable traits ... exciting times! Good luck - please let us know if you are successful in producing fertile garlic true seed as this is certainly something to share with the expanding kiwi garlic-growing community.

  • Maintaining | Gourmet Garlic

    GARLIC GROWING GUIDE The ten steps 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. Note that each garlic type has a different growing habit. Some are slow to shoot while some take off, some have floppy leaves while others have a very upright appearance. The picture below shows some of the different types all planted at the same 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.

  • About Us | Gourmet Garlic

    ABOUT US We are boutique garlic growers in the deep south. We love the varietal quirks so much that we wanted to share them with other garlic growers so they too could sample the unique flavours, shapes and gourmet garlic growing habits. Our Garlic We have grown garlic for our own use for many years in Kingston, Lake Whakatipu. The height of the Covid-19 pandemic gave us time to develop our spare residential section by building retaining walls, preparing the soil and raising growing beds and then growing our first commercial garlic crop. We have had some challenges. We thought it would be easy to source the 10 global garlic groups from a few suppliers around the country but it proved challenging in several ways. First of all, the demand for planted garlic was massive. So we struggled to find any bulbs in order to scale up our production. We found other kiwi gardeners loved planting garlic too. Secondly, we quickly found that suppliers only sell one or two types of garlic, generally the same, most commercially-viable softneck silverskin and artichoke garlic types. Thirdly, the nomenclature or the naming of the different types of garlic as they are all mixed up. Along with other confusing names, Russian Red and NZ Purple could be one of at least three different types depending on who was selling them. There is no way to identify them until you grow the bulbs and look for subtle indicators over a few years. We have standardised our garlic into the recognised ten global garlic groups to make things simple. We sourced much of our range from keen individuals that grow heirloom garlic. It took a few years to identify the types in order to build our special gourmet garlic sampler pack - the first and only such selection in the country. Today we grow all of the ten global garlic groups including a range of garlic bulbils . As a result we have amassed the broadest range of garlic in the country in order to grow bulbs with the gardener in mind. Our Plot & Ethos Being nestled in the southern mountains, at altitude with a constant cool lake breeze gives us the unique climate that helps us grow all the types of garlic - it has some similarities of the conditions wild garlic experiences in its homeland of Central Asia. Like most home gardeners, we grow all our garlic using hand tools on a small plot on our spare residential section. By living on the land and at this scale we can keep an eye on the crop by just walking a few paces from our door. We do not use machinery, and care for our garlic with more gentle hand tools. We grow our garlic to the highest quality we can achieve in our climate zone. It's not easy to maintain all ten global garlic groups in one location. We grow our bulbs using organic principals with no artificial fertilisers, sprays or additives. We use fully compostable packaging and fillings where we can to will enable you to put them in your compost bin to help build your own soils. We hope you will consider our range and enjoy learning from our garlic growing guide as much as we have enjoyed building it - it's the best resource of information for growing garlic for NZ's unique climatic conditions. We have put alot of effort into building and maintain the garlic growing guide. Please consider supporting us by following our social media links below. Happy garlic growing ! Gary & Kim Gourmet Garlic NZ

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