In the Garlic Growing Guide we explained that Garlic(Allium sativum L.) belongs to the lily family and it is believed that its origin is Asian and from there it was brought to the Mediterranean, it is an essential crop in our urban gardens, as it is a crop with numerous applications: It is essential in the kitchen whether making ali oli, frying garlic or seasoning oil, garlic is part of the cuisine in many countries. It has medicinal properties, it has uses as an insect repellent and as you will see it is a very simple crop that requires little care, ideal for getting started in the garden.
WHEN AND HOW TO PLANT
In our Garlic Growing Guide we showed you that garlic adapts well to climatic conditions because it is a rustic plant. In Mediterranean climates its growth is optimal, as well as in temperate climates. In tropical or subtropical climates it presents greater difficulty. According to numerical data, garlic can withstand temperatures as low as -10º C, in vegetative stage, due to its condition as a rustic plant. If it is in the vegetative growth phase, it can withstand temperatures as low as -5ºC. Despite these very low temperatures, late frosts are bad for garlic.
The most commonly used planting frame is 50 cm between rows and 15 cm separation between plants, we can increase the distance between rows to 60-80 cm, but what should not be done is to decrease the distance between plants because garlic is demanding in terms of light and if we reduce this distance can compromise the reception of light in all parts of the plant.
In the Garlic Growing Guide we show you that the way to plant it is very simple, as you can see in the photo, the garlic has a flat part and a pointed part, the latter is where the sprout comes from, so we have to put it on top and the flat part underneath. To plant it we have to introduce the garlic clove at least 2 times its height, with this we will have more than enough.
You will be surprised how little care you will have to do once you plant garlic. These tasks will be related to irrigation, cleaning the orchard of weeds and some controls against pests and diseases.
In this Garlic Growing Guide we are going to show you that irrigation is not necessary and in most cases can be considered detrimental, except in very dry winters and springs and very loose soils. Irrigation is usually by sprinkling or gravity irrigation. The needs from sprouting to the beginning of bulbification are the lowest and are usually sufficiently covered by rainfall. The most important water requirements occur during bulb formation. During the bulb’s maturation period, water requirements decrease until two weeks before harvesting, when they become null.
We have to take into account the environmental humidity and especially when the rains start in March-April and the heat because that is when we can begin to have fungus problems in our garlic.
HOW AND WHEN TO HARVEST
In the Garlic Growing Guide we tell you that for fall plantings it takes 8 months to reach harvest and 4 months or 4 and a half months for spring plantings. The humidity of the soil in contact with the mature heads causes blackening and rotting of the external tunics, caused by the action of saprophytic fungi, which sometimes deteriorate the quality of the harvest. The right time to harvest is when the leaves are completely dry, and the heads should be removed in good weather. Excessively early harvesting leads to reduced yields and loss of quality.
In loose soils the bulbs will be dug up by pulling the leaves, while in compact soils it is convenient to use pointed shovels or legons. The uprooted plants should be left in the soil for 4-5 days, weather permitting. As the bulbs are harvested, the soil adhering to them should be removed.
COMMON DISEASES AND PESTS
- Nematodes (Dytilenchus dipsaci) This is, or rather was, an important pest in garlic cultivation. Today, due to the use of sanitized seeds and crop land rotations, its damage has decreased significantly and now it hardly represents a loss of productivity in the plots. The nematodes are usually in the basal disc of the head. The best route of penetration is the apical part of the roots and in the wounds that the roots themselves cause in the tooth when they emerge. It is also an important penetration route when the roots are broken by the action of the furrowing coulters. The nematode can live free in the soil for several years, as well as host on other plants.
- Garlic mite (Acerea tulipae) This is a pest that could be called “warehouse pest” and develops in garlic and onion, but also in wheat or barley, etc. It is reproduced on the pulp of the garlic clove. Its action causes considerable wear and tear and the result can even leave the tooth itself in vain. It is easy to see even with the naked eye or with the aid of a magnifying lens. Yellowish spots are observed, which are actually necrotic areas due to oxidation of the affected tissue. They are usually located on the leaves, around the midrib. From there, at the end of the cycle, they descend to the bulb and during storage they develop between the skins and the pulp of the tooth, producing dehydration and weight loss.
- Red worm (Dyspessa ulula) If we stated that the mite was a “warehouse” pest, the same is true for the red worm. It is a pest that causes great economic losses. The red worm is a lepidopteran. Its activity is nocturnal. It lays its eggs at the base of the plants; when the larvae hatch, they make galleries inside the bulb, so that during cultivation, the pest goes practically unnoticed. Once the bulb has been harvested, the larvae feed on the clove and complete their larval stage in 40-50 days, totally destroying the clove or even the head of the garlic. Subsequently, it abandons the bulb and seeks refuge in the soil, brush, scratches on the ground, wood, etc. where it waits for the next spring.
- Stored garlic moth (Ephestia sp) The last pest to be mentioned is the garlic moth. This is a moth that affects several crops and is not exclusive to garlic. It is a moth or butterfly (Lepidoptera) that invades garlic in warehouses. Its adult appearance is that of a grayish butterfly with small bands that may adorn the upper wings. Its action on the garlic clove is the loss of weight up to the detritus classification and a lousy image of the bulbs as silky residues are left on the head. In reality, the damage is caused by the larvae, which are small, elongated caterpillars (about 1 cm) and whitish in color.
- Green rot (Penicilium sp.) This is a common disease, characterized by lesions on the teeth, where a white fuzz appears, which later turns greenish blue when sporulation occurs. The plant shows a yellowish color and general decay. Infection enters through the tooth, via the wounds produced during shelling, or as a result of damage caused by the planter or even by natural wounds when the roots emerge. Early attack prevents seed sprouting or causes vegetative delay. In addition, once green rot has set in, it is, in turn, an entry point for new diseases or pests (fusarium, nematodes).
- Rust (Puccina alli) These are orange-brown pustules that turn dark brown. Rust is most common on white garlic. The disease is spread rapidly by wind entering through leaf stomata. Early attacks cause leaf desiccation, accelerating ripening and significantly reducing yields.
- Blanquilla (Stemphillium vesicarum) This is a fungus that usually appears at the end of the cycle, when the leaf mass begins to wilt. Blanquilla causes premature and rapid desiccation of the plant, and in the case of a severe attack, the entire plot may be lost. The disease manifests itself when the plant shows rounded, elliptical, white spots. Perhaps the blanquilla is more visible and common in purple garlic. This disease is favored by temperatures between 16-25 ºC together with dew or foggy days; high relative humidity favors the disease.
- White rot (Sclerotium cepivorum) There was a time when it was considered, together with nematodes, as the main disease of the crop. However, today, its incidence is quite low. At optimum temperatures between 17-22 ºC, the fungus invades the plant through the roots and forms mycelium. The disease usually appears in the form of stands and can remain in the soil for up to twenty years. The external symptoms are yellowing and desiccation of the leaves. Attacked bulbs have a white rot. The fungus destroys the root system.
PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND FOR THIS CROP