In Canada, how long does garlic take to grow? Are you a seasoned gardener or a beginner? For beginners, here is a step-by-step guide on cultivating garlic.
HOW LONG DOES GARLIC TAKE TO GROW IN CANADA
Garlic can be planted as early as September 15 or as late as the end of October in colder zones 2, 3, or 4, such as western Canada, where winter arrives early. Plant at least 4 to 6 weeks before the earth freezes, as the soil may be ready for harvest by then on.
In the northern hemisphere, hard neck garlic has survived for millennia in a variety of soil conditions and temperatures.
You can grow a large crop with a little patience and a few bulbs. The bulb’s cloves are broken off and planted in the fall. Winter’s chill, commonly known as
After a period of dormancy, verbalization causes the clove to break open. The mature plant is harvested in late July the following year.
Here’s a quick guide on producing garlic, suitable for a little patch with a single clove or a field of up to 500 plants.
Every stage of the process is done by hand, from planting to weeding to harvesting.
EXAMINE AND PREPARE THE A SOIL
All soil is made up of finely powdered rock particles, as well as living and dead organic stuff, that have accumulated over millions of years.
Related Guide: HOW TO PREPARE THE SOIL FOR GROWING GARLIC
Each soil type is defined by the size of the particles, which range from huge sand particles to very small clay particles, as well as the presence of minerals and organic matter.
Each variety has its own set of benefits and drawbacks when it comes to growing veggies, including garlic.
Sandy soil, often known as friable soil, is light and crumbly. This implies that garlic bulbs may be picked quickly and easily.
It is, nevertheless, porous, with plenty of room between each sand particle (imagine the space between beach balls).
Its ability to hold nutrients and moisture is less than that of other soil types. Bulbs planted in a sand-organic soil mix, on the other hand, are easier to harvest.
Clay particles have a tendency to stick together (imagine stacked dish plates). This allows the soil to retain important water molecules and nutrients for plant growth, but it can be a nightmare in extremely dry or wet conditions.
When the clay becomes too dry, it hardens into concrete, resulting in damaged bulbs during harvest.
The clay soil, which absorbs a lot of water, causes other issues. Vehicles, and even walking, compact soil particles, making it more difficult for water and nutrients to flow easily and for plant roots to form.
Adding compost (organic matter) to the soil, whether it’s high in clay, silt, or sand, will improve the soil’s quality for producing garlic.
Read Also: HOW TO PLANT GARLIC IN THE FALL
Add two inches (5 cm) of manure or other composted material before planting.
with a shovel or a garden fork, stirred into the soil (an implement with four tines.) Compost enriches soil with nutrients and microorganisms.
crucial to the ecosystem of your soil It also helps to keep moisture in the soil, which is especially vital in sandy soil.
If you’re not already composting your kitchen waste, this is a solid reason to start. If the soil is heavy, consider raised beds to help with drainage.
FALL IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT CLOVES.
purchase of Garlic Seed
For planting, do not use imported table garlic. You risk infecting your garden or farm field with foreign-based diseases, not simply because it will develop poorly.
Garlic bulbs grown close to your growing zone will be more adapted than bulbs shipped from out of province.
From late July through October, garlic bulbs appropriate for planting—seed garlic—can be acquired via mail order, during garlic festivals, and at farmers’ markets.
Break the bulb’s skin to “crack” the bulb and liberate the cloves. The Toronto Garlic Festival provided this image.
Garlic should be “cracked”
To plant the individual cloves of garlic, each head or bulb is cracked or opened. Once for each clove
When planted, it will mature into a garlic plant. Hold a garlic bulb in both hands, stem facing up, to crack it.
With one thumb, pierce the skin while the other levers the stem back and forth. Once you’ve gotten rid of one, you can move on to the next.
The basal root plate will be easily broken off by clove and the others. You’ll be able to pinpoint the sweet spot on each bulb with a little practice.
It’s best to break bulbs as soon as possible before planting them. Make sure each clove has as many layers of skin (also known as “wrappers”) as feasible.
Cloves should be planted.
After you’ve divided your bulbs into cloves, they’re ready to plant. Before the first frost, plant in the fall.
Garlic cloves can range in length from a quarter inch to an inch or more (0.6 to 2.5 cm), therefore use a planting depth that is proportional to the clove’s length.
Dig a hole that is three to four times the length of the clove with a trowel. Cover the clove with dirt, pointing the pointed end up and the flat end down. The soil depth is measured from the soil surface to the clove’s tip.
Plant three times the length of the clove in heavy, clay soil. Plant four times the clove length in loose or sandy soil. Each clove should be spaced six inches (15 cm) apart.
Firmly pat the earth. Plant rows with a ten-inch (25-centimeter) spacing between them.
Plant in straight rows to make weeding easy in the spring, whether you’re using a hoe or a robot weeder.
Tying each end of a string to a stake and aligning the string in the row planned for planting is a simple approach to generate straight rows.
Pull the string taut and drive the stakes into the ground at either end. Move the thread once your row is planted.
as well as stakes for the next row
To make weeding easier, plant garlic in straight rows. The Toronto Garlic Festival provided this image.
Create a map
If you’re growing multiple types of garlic, make sure to label them with bamboo poles, wooden pegs, or other appropriate marks.
Because they can be disturbed by wind, animals, and heavy rain over the winter, it’s a good idea to design a map of your garlic patch, with the length of each part marked on the map. Keep it in a secure location.
Bulbils are a less expensive alternative to bulb planting. The scape of hardneck garlic contains bulbils.
They’re tiny, undivided bulbs that range in size from a grain of rice to a chickpea (see garlic bulbils in pod in color section).
They are a low-cost technique to grow out your garlic crop and don’t carry any known pests or diseases (but they may harbor viruses).
To collect bulbils for planting, farmer Paul Pospisil recommends leaving garlic plants in the ground for a week or two after your other garlic plants have been harvested, with the scape still attached.
Remove the bulbils from the scape and keep them dry until it’s ready to plant. Label your bulbils if you’re growing more than one type of garlic.
They’re planted at the same time as garlic cloves, two inches (five centimeters) deep and straight into the soil.
To protect bulbils from soil-borne disease, Pospisil recommends putting them in containers with sterilized soil or potting mix. Place the containers in the garden, somewhat above the ground level.
Cover with mulch and remember to weed and water in the spring. Harvest the baby garlic plants at the same time as the rest of your garlic.
The plants will produce small “roundels”—small undivided bulbs—for the first two to three years (no cloves). Each fall, replant the roundel.
They’ll produce a mature garlic plant with a fully developed and divided bulb in two to five years. In as little as one year, the Purple Stripe cultivar can produce a mature plant.
Why should bulbils be planted in disease-free, sterilized soil? The short answer is that it allows you to purchase time. In the soil, all plants, including garlic, are subject to disease and pests.
Some of these organisms can remain latent in the plant from year to year, waiting for the proper conditions to grow.
Growing garlic bulbils and roundels in sterilized soil helps ensure that the mature garlic plant will be disease-free once planted in the field or garden.
In other words, they get a head start on disease and pests than if they were planted in diseased or pest-infested soil.
Growing garlic in the city
Garlic cultivation in the metropolis has its own set of obstacles. There’s a risk of abrupt frost if your garlic is planted in pots. It’s best to use a container with a volume of at least 30 gallons (about 150 litres).
If the container is insulated from the cold, a smaller container can also be used. As long as the temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, keep it in a garage or a cold room in the basement (fifty degrees F).
Cover the entire container with a good insulator—bags of leaves, straw, or an insulating blanket such as natural coir (produced from coconut husks) or even an old blanket if placed outside (against a wall helps).
If the container is placed on the ground, it will absorb some of the ground’s latent heat. Insulate the bottom of the container if it is on a balcony or deck.
Finally, garlic is not afraid of heights, but plants on a high floor in an apartment building or condominium will be subjected to strong winds and possibly cooler temperatures, necessitating the use of a few extra layers of insulation.
Bulbs should be cut from the stem.
After curing, clip the roots using household scissors and cleanly cut the bulb from the stem with gardening cutters.
Because any quantity of stem left behind can penetrate neighboring bulbs when in storage, most producers clip the stem extremely close to the bulb. Tight-clinging bulbs should be avoided.
MULCH FOR THE WINTER
Mulch around your garlic plants with weed-free straw, leaves, or shredded newspaper.
Mulch should be a depth of 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45 cm). Even if newspaper or leaves are easily available, they can build a thick mat that suffocates immature garlic plants.
Check in early spring to determine if any layers should be removed to avoid this. Mulch serves a variety of purposes. Despite the fact that the earth will most likely freeze solid over the winter months, mulching is still a good idea.
Reduces the harmful effects of abrupt temperature swings. By inhibiting weed growth and retaining moisture in the soil in the spring and summer, it suppresses weed growth and helps retain moisture in the soil.
the rays of the sun Don’t be shocked if you find snakes, toads, and nesting birds in your mulch in the spring.
Insects, particularly possible garlic pests, are a favorite snack. These creatures act as a natural insecticide.
Mulch contributes to the organic content of your soil as it decomposes over the course of the season.
A snow blanket can also be used as mulch, however it will have melted into the soil by spring. You should expect to perform some weeding.
Fertilize the soil
In mid- to late April, when the plant begins to grow rapidly, put compost or vegetable fertilizer into the soil beside the row if your site receives fewer than four hours of direct sun every day.
Is there a requirement for water in the soil? Here’s a quick test to see if you’re ready. Gather a small quantity of soil from your garlic crop and roll it into a marble-sized ball.
It should be squeezed. It’s wet enough if it doesn’t collapse. It has too much water if it squeezes out of the ball. Make sure to collect soil from a few inches beneath the soil surface for this test.
Millions of weed seeds can be found in a single acre of topsoil, and they can remain dormant in the soil for decades.
The garden hoe, which was invented almost 2,000 years ago, is one of the most effective weed-control instruments.
A fast hoe pass disturbs newly grown weeds by agitating the soil surface.
Weeds that are three to four inches tall can be easily removed using a garden hoe.
Before weeding, check the weather forecast—best it’s to weed before a dry spell, when the sun and heat will cause uprooted weeds to shrivel.
A scape is produced by hardneck varieties. The bulb size may decrease if the scape is left on the plant because energy is diverted to bulbil development.
Break or clip the scapes as soon as they’ve curled and before they straighten out to remove them.
CURING AND HARVESTING IN THE SUMMER
The mature plant is dug up from the earth and harvested. When the tips of three to five of the leaf sheaths have turned brown, garlic should be plucked.
It indicates that the plant has attained maturity and is beginning to decompose. Why do the leaves indicate when it’s time to harvest? Each leaf contributes to the whole.
Photosynthesis, structural support for the stem, and providing a protective layer for the bulb are all functions of this structure.
Because the leaf sheath and bulb covering are one and the same structure, a change in color indicates that the bulb has matured.
The plant has reached its full potential. The layers on the bulb will rot if the plant is left in the soil beyond this time.
It’s critical to keep as many of these layers intact as possible since they safeguard the bulb during curing and storage.
Some farmers recommend pulling up and inspecting a few test plants before the leaves turn brown, especially if the weather is damp.
The layers on the bulb can disintegrate prematurely if the soil is too wet. Don’t wait for the leaf tips to turn brown if this is the case. It’s time to reap the benefits of your labor.
How to Harvest Garlic (Harvesting Techniques)
Loosen the dirt with a fork, spade, or other digging tool, being careful to dig straight down—parallel to the plant’s stem, six to eight inches (15-20 cm) deep, and three to four inches (eight to ten cm) from the stem—far enough away from the bulb to avoid damaging it.
Back and forth with the tool, loosening the soil around the bulb gently. Now take hold of the plant’s base, which is close to the soil’s surface.
Pull the stem straight up, being careful not to bend it, and brush off any loose dirt or dead leaves, which could contain moisture-loving bugs and illness during curing and storage.
Each bulb should be placed on the ground. Check your already collected bulbs to make sure they haven’t been harmed by your digging implement before digging up too many plants.
Adjust your digging technique for the next plants to be gathered if necessary, and send any damaged bulbs to the kitchen!
Cure the plants by tying them together
Tie garlic plants together in bundles of five or ten (or whatever number you like) with a four-foot-long string—two bundles per length of string.
To reduce the risk of cutting into the plant’s stem, wrap each bundle twice with a wide-diameter string, such as hemp rope.
Tighten the ties to keep the plants from slipping out of the bundle; the stems will shorten as they dry. The string is used to hang each set of two bundles to dry or “cure.”
Remember that a fungus, mould, or other undesirable organisms can enter the plant through a cut or bruise in the stem or the leaf sheaths that protect the bulb.
Garlic is immediately hung to cure for two to three weeks after harvest. This permits the plant to dry out and prepares it for long-term storage.
Garlic bunches should be hung in a shady, well-ventilated area. Install a fan in high-humidity areas.
Bulbs should be cut from the stem.
After curing, clip the roots using household scissors and cleanly cut the bulb from the stem with gardening cutters.
Because any quantity of stem left behind can penetrate neighbouring bulbs when in storage, most producers clip the stem extremely close to the bulb.
Farmer Patrick Carter prefers to leave roughly two inches (five cm) of the stem on bulbs with tight-clinging skins that are difficult to crack, such as the Music strain
(a porcelain type), since this makes it easier to crack the bulb in preparation for planting.
Table garlic keeps best in a refrigerator or cellar, or in a clay garlic keeper. Avoid keeping near a stove or a sunlit window sill where the humidity is high or the temperature is excessive.
At room temperature, table garlic may dehydrate more quickly. Garlic should not be kept in the refrigerator.
Garlic can be preserved for up to a year, depending on the variety and strain. The differences are attributable to inherent characteristics of each species of garlic, such as the tightness of the bulb’s skin.
How you handle the plant during growing, harvest, bundling, curing, and storage determines how well the bulbs will store, regardless of the variety of garlic you cultivate.
Because the leaf sheaths that cover the bulb perform a comparable function to human skin in protecting the bulb from potentially harmful organisms, you should leave as many sheaths on the bulb as possible after harvest.
Bulbs with tightly adherent leaf sheaths will probably last the longest in storage. The earliest bulbs to be eaten (table garlic) or planted in the fall should have exposed portions on their surface.
PREVENTION OF GARLIC PESTS AND DISEASES
Mammals aren’t particularly fond of garlic, but they can be a problem in the long run. Squirrels will burrow through the dirt in search of acorns, and may uproot garlic in the process.
The real danger to garlic is much lesser and more dangerous. Insects and illnesses provide a severe, often undetected threat. Penicillium mould, bulb and stem nematode, white rot, fusarium, basal plate rot, aster yellows, and the leek moth are all problems to watch out for.
None of them will make the eleven o’clock news, but they are the worst nightmare of a garlic farmer.
Each one appears at a different period in the garlic lifecycle and in a distinct fashion.
Garlic decays due to the presence of the penicillium mold during storage. Airborne mould spores can infect healthy cloves when affected bulbs are cracked for planting, potentially causing damage.
Bulb and stem nematode is a tiny parasitic parasite that enters the bulb through the root plate or wounds.
It can lay latent in the plant until the perfect conditions arise—it travels well in wet environments, including on an unfortunate gardener’s boot.
The leek moth is a nuisance bug that lays its eggs on garlic leaves. The larvae tunnel into the soil once they have hatched.
Bacterial or fungal infections can infect the plant’s leaves, making it vulnerable.
As a first line of defense against such risks, here are a few common-sense techniques. During the growing season, do regular inspections, eliminating weak and stunted-looking plants and disposing of plant detritus far from the field or garden.
Allow three to five years between planting any allium species or plants susceptible to the same pests and illnesses as garlic in a crop rotation.
In wet weather, avoid strolling in your garden or garlic field, as your boots (or garden equipment) might transport water-loving pests from one part of the field to the next.
In cooler climates, garlic can be planted as early as September 15 or as late as the end of October. In the following year, the mature plant is picked in July.
From planting to weeding to harvesting, every step of the growing process is done by hand.
Garlic bulbs suitable for planting can be ordered online, purchased during garlic festivals, or purchased at farmers’ markets. Break the skin of the bulb to “break” it and release the cloves.
Before planting, add two inches (5 cm) of manure or other decomposed material. Garlic cloves can be anything from a quarter inch to an inch and a half in length (0.6 to 2.5 cm).
With a shovel, dig a hole three to four times the length of the clove. To make weeding in the spring easier, plant in straight rows. Garlic farming in the city comes with its own set of challenges.
If you’re growing garlic in pots, there’s a chance you’ll get a late frost. When garlic bulbils are grown in sterilized soil, they are more likely to produce disease-free mature garlic plants when planted in the field or garden.
After harvest, garlic is hung to cure for two to three weeks. Hang garlic bunches in a shady, well-ventilated location.
Mulch weed-free straw, leaves, or shredded newspaper around your garlic plants.
It inhibits weed growth and aids in the retention of moisture in the soil. In a single acre of topsoil, there are millions of weed seeds. By disturbing the soil surface, a quick hoe pass upsets newly developed weeds. One of the most efficient weed-control tools is the garden hoe. If the soil is overly damp, the layers on the bulb may disintegrate prematurely.
It’s vital that as many of these layers as possible remain intact. By tying garlic plants together with a four-foot-long string, such as hemp rope, they can be dried and cured.
Depending on the kind and strain, garlic can be stored for up to a year. Table garlic is best stored in a refrigerator, cellar, or a clay garlic keeper.
Garlic isn’t particularly liked by mammals, but it can become an issue in the long run.
For example, the leek moth lays its eggs on garlic leaves and burrows into the ground.