Garlic grows well in clay, alluvial and sandy loam soils. Sandy loam, properly applied with fertilizer, generally produces big, compact and heavy bulbs of good quality. Heavier soils such as clay loam also give profitable yields if they are cultivated and fertilized properly. Garlic requires cool weather during the early stage of growth thus it is best to plant them on the months of October and November.
Garlic likes full sun and well drained soil. Garlic is quite tolerant when it comes to soil types and textures, but it definitely appreciates sandy-clay-loam that is friable (easily crumbled in the hand) and has a high organic content. It does best when the pH is in the 6.2 to 6.8 range. Make sure you take samples from several spots in your garden and mix them together to obtain a representative reading. The garden or field should drain easily – standing water just won’t cut it as the bulbs could rot in the ground. To increase the tilth of the soil (isn’t that a great word?), add organic matter such as well-composted manure. You can also green mulch, that is plant cover crops such as clover or buckwheat and then till them into the ground.
Prepare the pieces of cloves in the afternoon, the day before planting. Carefully separate the cloves from each other, taking care not to injure them. Choose only the big pieces for planting. Soak the cloves for two minutes in a solution of Malathion prepared by mixing three tablespoonfuls in five gallons of water). Treating the cloves with Malathion would kill the microscopic mites that cause “tangle top,” a common garlic disease. Drain off the solution and put the cloves in a clean container for planting.
If the field is weedy and/or the soil surface is very irregular, plow and harrow the land thoroughly to kill weed seeds and to produce a fine, firm, smooth and level surface. Broadcast the recommended amount of fertilizers and mix thoroughly with the soil before leveling the field. For one hectare, use 125 to 175 kilos each of urea (45-0-0) and 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 NPK fertilizers. Mix the two fertilizers thoroughly. If urea is not available, use 235 to 270 kilos of ammonium sulphate. Mix with 115 to 130 kilos of 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 fertilizers.
After applying the fertilizers and leveling the field, spread rice straw evenly throughout the entire paddy to a thickness of about 5 cms. Irrigate the field just enough to moist the soil. In a few days, the field is ready for planting. In planting, mark the rows with the use of parallel lines of string spaced 20 cms. apart and placed just on top of the straw mulch.
Hold the clove between the thumb and forefinger and set one-fourth of the clove into the soil. Then press the soil slightly but firmly towards the clove. Plant the cloves at intervals of 20 cms. in the row.Garlic does not need much irrigation. As long as there is sufficient soil moisture, bulb formation would be normal. The plants are ready to be harvested as soon as three-fourths of the tops or leaves become fully ripe or dry. Lift the matured plants gently from the ground and then arrange the direct heat of the sun.
Pests and Diseases
The important pests of garlic are mites and cut worms. Cut worms can be controlled by spraying the plants with solutions of: EPN-300 at three tablespoonfuls in five gallons of water plus sticker; and Imidan 50 W.P. at three tablespoonfuls in five gallons water plus sticker. Against mites, use Tedion V-18 at three tablespoonfuls of water. Spray the plants once a week. Pink Root which can be prevented only by planting resistant varieties.
Many people make a big mistake at this point. They wait too long to harvest. Keeping garlic in the ground beyond a certain point does not result in bigger bulbs, but rather dried out, split and nearly useless ones. When to harvest? When the lower third to half of the leaves have turned brown, but there are still mostly green leaves higher on the plant, it’s time to harvest. Others suggest harvesting when the hardneck scapes are standing straight up but before the pods containing the bulbils open up.
You can always test dig one or two plants. You should be able to see the shape of the cloves beginning to bulge through the wrapper. There is also a two to three week difference in the harvest dates of the several varieties. So watch you plants carefully. To get the bulb out of the ground, don’t just try to pull them. The stalk will break. You must dig, using a pitchfork or the like in order to loosen the soil. Then you can lift the entire plant out of the ground.
Don’t let the bulb stay in the sun very long as it will sun scald, which reduces its quality.
Storing garlic requires an even temperature (50-70° F seems to work) and a relative humidity averaging in the 50-60% range. Make sure they get plenty of air circulation. When storing in bulk, onion-type mesh bags hanging in a well-ventilated room is good. In a kitchen, a ceramic garlic keeper (or a burlap bag) will do fine. Do not store at high humidity or in the refrigerator – they will try to sprout and their taste heads south in a hurry.
For more info, contact:
Dept. of Science and Technology
Rm. 303 DOST Bldg., DOST Complex,
Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City
Phone: (02) 837-20-71 to 82