May 242018 0 Responses

Growing Garlic in Hawke’s Bay

Garlic really is one of the most simple vegetables to grow – what can I tell you apart from it needs full sun to be successful.

I’ve grown garlic for many years now (and apart from last year when it got swamped by the invasive Horseradish) I have had fabulous results.  I usually grow two types of garlic around the edge of my large asparagus bed.    Sometimes I have to think “outside the square (or vege patch)” to find enough room!

My garlic patch is in the beautiful alluvial soil close to the creek.  The soil is light and free draining here which makes it excellent for both asparagus and garlic and dog digging!  Hence the asparagus patch is fenced off for obvious reasons.  It is in full sun which is perfect for garlic.

I dug a trench right around the patch (inside and outside the fence) and always dust on some Tui Vege Food.  Then on my knees and using my preferred tool – the Niwashi – I dug individual holes around 20-25cm apart for the Giant Garlic and 15cm apart for the Printanor Garlic I chose a triangular planting to get more in.  Into each hole I incorporated half a handful of sheep pellets – garlic loves sheep pellets.

Planting Depth:  I always plant the Giant Garlic really deep – at least twice the depth of the height of the bulb – the tip of the garlic bulb being around 8cm deep.  Giant Garlic is especially vigorous and produces a lot of roots.  I think the further apart you can plant the bulbs the better.  Garlic also doesn’t have to be planted in the vege patch.  When pushed for room in previous years I have planted my garlic in the shrubbery, around the roses.  Roses are supposed to love garlic – the garlic helps keep the bugs away from them.  If you’re short of room in your vege patch this winter – make use of your shrubbery and plant groups of garlic, just like you would daffodils.

Growing:  All winter planted garlic should be ready for harvesting by Christmas.  However if you’ve planted a lot like me you can start digging and using your garlic much earlier than that.  Freshly dug garlic is wonderful and the leaves are very garlicky also.   Garlic does a lot of its growing in the last month so make sure you keep them growing strongly through November and December.  Feed them every six weeks or so with a general purpose fertiliser i.e. Tui General Fertiliser and keep them well watered.  For the fattest garlic possible give the a liquid feed fortnightly with something Ican Fast Food.

Pest and Disease Issues:  Garlic is susceptible to rust and just sometimes, black aphids.  If your Garlic gets rust it’s pretty much done for.  Which is a dreadful thing considering all the work you’ve put into it and how marvellous it is to have your own.  So preventing rust is a MUST DO.  This is easy – simply spray it once a month (once it’s up) with organic copper.  I use Grosafe Free Flo Copper.  If you see some black Aphids – add into the copper spray Grosafe Enspray 99 which is an organic very fine Oil.  These two sprays will eliminate about 80% of any pest or disease issues you might get in the vege patch or main garden – they can also be used to spray your roses with.

Storing garlic – plaiting   When you dig your garlic either plait it or tie it together in bunches of half a dozen or so and hang it up in a dry, shaded and preferably airy spot so that it dries quickly.

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