Grow garlic yourself without a 100% guarantee of success (we are constantly learning more...)
The question forest
Why garlic at all and why so many varieties? How do I start and which garlic? How do I prepare the soil? What is the best way to do it? Raised bed or bed? So many questions and a dense forest of answers...
Actually, you can't do much wrong...garlic is a very grateful and healthy leek plant that is easy to grow! You buy a tuber (or several) and cut the tuber into cloves. You can put the little cloves in the soup, and because big cloves make nice garlic, you should just stick them in the ground. Good, uncomplicated varieties are: Garcua, Ljubascha and Therador or Messidor. It's worth starting with these varieties.
We don't have many years of experience with raised beds and unfortunately we can't give any tips. Our customers have highly recommended mulching over the planted garlic cloves in the raised bed.
The best planting time we recommend is between mid-September and mid-November. Before planting, loosen the soil well and fertilize generously with compost. A toe or plant needs a distance of approx. 15 cm in the row. The rows should be at least 30 cm apart. Ideally, the garlic will germinate within 2-3 weeks of being planted and will develop its first leaves in the winter. When the soil warms up in spring, a clear development can be seen. If there is a lack of water, it will stagnate and not grow particularly well. So watch and water if necessary.
Some varieties develop a stem from the beginning of May, if you need garlic seeds you should leave the stems and flowers standing and harvest them in July when the seeds are ripe. If you would like to have large tubers, it is better to cut off the stem at the end of May and beginning of June. This will make the tuber grow larger.
Softneck varieties have no stem, they are easier to grow and harvest with large machines. But they have one disadvantage: selection and propagation is much more difficult because they do not produce breeding bulbs.
If everything has worked so far and the first (3) lower leaves turn yellow, you can start harvesting. If you harvest the plant too late, the husks decompose and the toes are exposed.
Drying is a good lesson for us every year and requires patience and observation. You can bundle the whole garlic plant and hang it in an airy, sun-protected and not too hot place, such as a canopy, and leave it like that until wet, cold weather arrives. Or shorten the green/yellow leaves and lay them flat in boxes.
Dry-cool (-1 to -3 degrees) or dry-warm (15-24 degrees)...and no fridge!
Many growers have a cold room where the garlic can be stored for a long time. We cannot afford the high energy costs associated with this technology and prefer to store it warmly between 15 and 24 degrees. The humidity can also be observed; here it is between 50 and 70%. If too dry, there will be garlic mummies, if too wet, there will be mold. This is how we manage to store our garlic until around February.
After that, a new year of garlic begins and we notice that at the latest when it turns green in our storage room... then it's high time to clean and clear out the room.