There is an old gardener’s axiom; Plant your garlic on the shortest day and harvest on the longest.
Now I have had success planting in late March to early April in our climate and also using the shortest/longest day axiom, but this year I thought I would try something new. I let the garlic bulbs tell me when they were ready to be planted!
So how did I do that? Easy, I waited until the big Australian Purple garlic bulbs started to sprout.
It’s a damn good indication that they want to be placed in some well composted soil to grow you some more tasty garlic bulbs! It just so happened that the sprouting happened very close to the winter solstice.
I find that the Australian Purple garlic variety is a good all-rounder, and not too overpowering in meals. Easy to grow and it gives you a decent sized bulb.
For planting, select the biggest, fattest garlic bulbs. I had these ones stored in a wicker basket at the back of the pantry, but a brown paper bag in a dark place would work just as well.
Prepping the garden beds is a breeze. Just make sure the soil is rich with well-rotted organic matter, such as homemade compost or crushed cow or sheep manure, mixed to a friable consistency.
Then make a few shallow rows with the back of a rake. This is a guide only so that you know to place each clove as you go along.
Break each clove off the bulb and push into the soil down about double the height of the clove with the pointy end up. If they have sprouted, be careful not to snap off the shoot. Space each clove about 1 hand length apart.
Once all your garlic cloves are in the ground, then backfill with soil and water in well.
You should see a sprout for each clove between 7 to 14 days.
Just make sure that the soil is kept moist throughout the growing season. Top dress with a handful of well composted manure every couple of months and water in well. This helps feed the bulbs during formation.
Harvest each plant when the tops have browned and died off. Check out this blog post for tips on how to store your garlic.
So now is the season my gardening friends, so get planting that garlic!
It’s easy so to grow Australian Purple Garlic at home.