Garlic planting time – again

garlic1 March and April are good months for planting garlic in temperate to warmer parts of Australia. This year we are going back to growing the ‘Italian White‘ variety as our winters are becoming too mild for the hard-necked varieties. ‘Italian White‘ is a soft-necked garlic more suited to warmer areas. Cloves are slightly smaller than the purple hard-necked garlic but it has a lovely flavour and keeps longer than the hard-neck varieties.

We will sow ours in the middle of April (during Full Moon phase), after separating the knobs into individual cloves. The larger cloves from each knob will be planted, flat end down, just below the surface into soil rich in compost with a pH close to neutral. We usually plant our cloves 15 cm apart in rows 30 cm apart so that the canopy formed by the leaves helps to keep the mulched soil cooler. Garlic needs regular, deep watering (not a daily sprinkle) and hates competing with weeds. Green Harvest has a range of garlic for planting, and their garlic page will help you to decide which variety is best suited to your local climate and needs.

If you want to grow a small quantity of garlic from knobs purchased from your greengrocer, make sure it is Australian garlic. Imported garlic is treated with methyl bromide, a nasty gas that has been banned in Europe and may prevent cloves from growing.
Garlic takes 6 to 8 months to develop a bulb depending on the variety and climate.

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2 Responses to Garlic planting time – again

  1. Francesca says:

    I’m not sure where you are located, but here in Melbourne we wait a little longer. I usually put them in in May: the cold earth assists in the shooting. So long as they get in the ground before winter solstice, they should be OK. I have quite a few varieties but was fortunate enough to find some Flinders Island bulbs this summer so they are in storage waiting for the ground to cool.

    Good advice for cooler climates, Francesca. Gardeners in warm areas need to get garlic harvested before summer rains as it needs dry conditions to cure properly. – Lyn

  2. Caroline Johnson says:

    We are in the frosty Adelaide Hills. Nice north facing sunny garden. Last years garlic turned out so small so this year I thought I would plant them (300 cloves!) early April .Q 1: Is this too soon? Just purchased your moon guide so I now know to plant in full moon phase. I have unfortunatly already separated the cloves. Q2: Can they wait a couple of weeks? They still of course, have their skins on.
    Q3: What is the best fertiliser to give them on planting and in spring?

    It’s Last Quarter phase this week (March/April 2019), Caroline, and the next Full Moon is April 19. The next best time to sow Garlic is between 20–26 April. Put the cloves into paper bags and keep them in your vegetable crisper until it’s time for planting them (with their skins on). In the meantime, work a moderate amount of compost into the bed top soil and add some complete organic fertiliser. Make sure the soil pH is close to neutral (7.0). Although garlic does not have a high nitrogen requirement, it has been found that a nitrogen fertiliser applied early in its growth is beneficial, but not beneficial later on. This makes sense as the stronger the plant, the larger larger the bulbs. – Lyn

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