Caring for garlic plant is easy
If you have ever grown any plants you will know how to care for garlic plant too, as the basic thing garlic needs to grow is sunlight and water. It is a hardy plant which is found in even in the wilderness of Kazakhstan mountains.
Although garlic isn’t as demanding and high maintenance as some plants can be, if you expect satisfying, healthy crop in the summer a bit of extra care and keeping an eye on pests is needed. At the end of the day it does take around 8 months for most of the garlic varieties to achieve maturity, so it is worth keeping your hand on the pulse.
In order to get a happy, healthy and tasty crop, the garlic plant needs a similar level of care and attention to most common vegetable and herbs in the garden.
Remove weeds from the garlic plant beds
Shallow-root and low growing weeds should not be a problem, but the ones with a deep root system or tall foliage that compete for the sunlight will affect the well-being and the size of the garlic crop. Remove weeds as soon as you spot them to maximize amount of sunlight and minerals for your garlic plant.
Some growers find using mulch beneficial. It can provide moderation of the temperature, suppression of weeds and retention of moisture.
When to fertilize a garlic plant
When it comes to fertilizing, balance is the key and I’d always ask my garlic seed supplier when is the good time to fertilize a garlic plant. This can be different depending on where and when you grow your garlic.
In the UK (Northern and Western hemispheres) for example, February is a good time to apply sulphate of potash to your garlic. This gives your garlic all the nutrients it needs to grow. However it’s best not to fertilize after May as it reduces the crop yield.
How to water a garlic plant
A garlic plant needs moderate watering. You should avoid overwatering as heavily soaked soil means that the plant will sit in a heavy muck. At the time of planting it is necessary to ensure that the soil is moist as this will help the root system start to grow. If the garlic roots do not start growing soon after planting the seed is exposed to deterioration and disease.
Water garlic in the dry season and throughout the growing season. Stop watering about 2 weeks before the harvest.
Removal of a scape
Garlic (Allium Sativum) has 2 subspecies: hard-necked (Ophioscorodon) and soft-necked garlics (Sativum).
One of the main differences between these 2 species is that hard-necks produce a scape.
Scape is a leafless extension of the underground stem ending with an umbel capsule. The umbel capsule contains the flowers and bulbils. (You can find out more about different parts of garlic plant in the Garlic Plant Structure tab.)
If you intend to grow hard-neck cultivations of garlic you should consider removal of scape to ensure that all the garlic plant’s strength and attention is directed to growing a nice, big and healthy garlic bulb in the ground.
Leaving the scape on might affect certain cultivations of hard-necks. Some growers say that leaving the scapes on until the harvest reduces the size of the bulbs. Others say that removing it just before the harvest disrupts the plant’s hydraulic system and causes slight shrinkage, which decreases garlics’ storage life after the harvest.
When working with plants that rely heavily on stem retention, removing the scape as it starts to uncurl is the sensible approach recommended by experienced growers.
It happens very rarely that the soft-neck garlic produces a scape but the above rules of scape removal apply the same way as to the hard-necks.