Garlic is frost hardy plant requiring cool and moist period during growth and relatively dry period during maturity of bulbs. Bulbing takes place during longer days and at high temperature, exposure to low temperature subsequent to bulb formation, favours the process. The critical day length for bulbing of 12 hrs. along with, temperature also affects bulbing. Exposures of dormant cloves or young plants to temperature of around 200C or lower depending upon varieties for 1-2 months hastens subsequent bulbing.
Garlic can be grown on a variety of soils but it thrives better on fertile, well-drained loam soils. The pH of soil between 6 and 7 is suitable for good crop. Highly alkaline and saline soils are not suitable for garlic cultivation.
The time of planting garlic differs from region-to-region. It is planted from August to October in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and from September to November in Northern plains of India. In Gujrat, planting is done during October-November. Proper season for planting in higher hills in Northern part is March-April. It can also be, however, planted during September-October. In West Bengal and Orissa, October-November is best time for planting.
Cloves of garlic with 8-10 mm diameter since give increased yield of better quality, care should be taken to select bigger cloves from outer side of bulbs. About 500 kg cloves of 8-10 mm diameter are required to plant one hectare.
Garlic responds very well to organic manures. For a normal soil 50 tonnes of farmyard manure, 100 kg N, 50 kg P and 50 kg K/ha through chemical fertilizer has been recommended. Micronutrients also increase its yield potential.
In general, garlic needs irrigation at 8 days intervals during vegetative growth and 10-15 days during maturation. As the crop matures (when the tops first begin to break over or become dry), stop irrigation to allow field to dry out first. Continued irrigation as the crop matures causes the roots and bulb scales to rot. This discolours the bulbs and exposes outer cloves and decreases the market value of bulbs. Irrigation after long spell of drought results in splitting of bulbs. Excessive irrigation results in sprouting.
First weeding is done one month after planting and second one month after first weeding. Hoeing the crop just before the formation of bulbs (about two-and-a-half months after sowing) helps in setting of bigger sized well filled bulbs. Pendimethalin @ 3.5 litres or Goal @ 0.25 kg/ha + 1 hand-weeding gives good control of broad leave weeds.
Garlic becomes ready for harvesting when its tops turn yellowish or brownish and show signs of drying up and bend over. G 282 is early-maturing cultivar. Harvesting at the stage when tops have fallen over gives good quality bulbs. Bulbs are taken out along with tops and windrowed gathering several rows in each row for curing.
The yields of bulbs varies from 100 to 200 q/ha depending upon variety and regions.
Garlic is propagated by cloves. Well-grown compact bulbs of uniform shape and size are selected. The cloves having 8-10 cm size are used for planting. The planting method and other operations followed for production of seed are the same as for bulbs production.
Government of India has prescribed seed standards for production of certified seed of garlic. The details are given as under :
All certified classes shall be produced from the cloves obtained from the bulbs whose source and identity may be assured and approved by the Certification Agency.
Land used for seed production of garlic shall be free of volunteer plants.
The seed fields of garlic shall be isolated from the contaminants shown and distances specified should be followd (Table)
|Table1 : Contaminats and specified distance|
|Contaminant||Minimum distance (m)|
|Field of other varieties||5||5|
|Fields of the same variety not conforming To varietal purity, requirements for certification||5||5|
|Contaminant||Minimum distance (m)|
Average diameter of each bulb shall not be less than 2.5 cm or 25 g in weight.
Seed material shall be reasonably clean, healthy and firm, conforming to the varietal characteristics of the variety. The bulbs not conforming to varietal characteristics shall not exceed 0.1 and 0.20% (by number) for foundation and certified seed classes respectively.
Cut, bruised, cracked, immature or those damaged by insects, slugs worms shall not exceed more than 2.0% (by weight).
Porcelain garlics (ophios) are among the most beautiful garlics of all and sometimes seem too beautiful to eat. Their bulb wrappers tend to be very thick, luxuriant and parchment-like and tightly cover their few, but large, cloves. The outer bulb wrappers are often very white and tend to some purple striping as you peel away the wrappers. Their appearance tempts one to wonder whether they were sculpted by some great artist rather than something grown in the ground. There are few or no smaller cloves as most cloves are large and fat (typically only five really big cloves per bulb).
All hardneck garlics grow scapes in the spring with each variety having a characteristic shape based on its genetics with Purple Stripe garlics forming 3/4 of a loop and Rocamboles forming a full double loop before straightening up. Porcelain garlic's pattern is that there is no pattern and a bed of Porcelain garlics looks like a bed of snakes, hence the term serpent garlic for Porcelain garlic in times past.
Porcelains are generally strong tasting garlics with a few exceptions and can store for up to eight to ten months or more at cool room temperature, if grown well. Bulb wrappers vary from white/ivory (Zemo) to very purplish (Romanian Red). Clove covers have elongated tips and a golden brown color with some having distinctive vertical, purplish streaks.
Rocambole garlics tend to have thinner bulb wrappers than other ophios and lots of purple striping and splotches. They are not as white as other ophios and seem to have a brownish cast to them, in fact, some of them almost look as though they need a bath. What they lack in beauty, they make up for in taste. Many people (including Ron Engeland-author of "Growing Great Garlic")consider them their favorite garlics. They are very, very flavorful garlics and most of them very hot.
In the spring they send up a scape (stalk) that forms a complete double loop before straightening up. They have usually eight to ten cloves arranged in circular fashion about a central scape and have few or no smaller internal cloves.
Alas, we shall not know success with them as they do not grow well in warmer climates such as ours. They require a colder winter and a cooler spring than we have here in central Texas. We have tried for years to "southernize" these garlics, but to no avail; they simply die in the ground here so we have to buy them from those who can grow them.
If you want to try these culinary delights, you can order them from the growers in our gardeners marketplace. Their primary drawback is that they are among the shorter storing garlics, seldom storing beyond mid-winter so you go months without good garlic. For that reason I recommend growing the longer storing Porcelains which usually grow well in the same places as Rocamboles.
Purple Stripe garlics are ophios (hardnecks) and are usually vividly striped with purplish vertical stripes decorating the bulb wrappers, hence their name. In between the purple stripes, their bulb wrappers are usually very white and thick. Some sub-varieties are even heavily splotched with purple garlic. Coloration is affected by growing conditions, particularly weather and sometimes they are strongly colored and at other times more white than purple. They tend to be rather rich in flavor, but not overly pungent, though some are milder, and store fairly well. Standard Purple Stripes (Chesnok Red and Persian Star) make the sweetest roasted garlic. They mature about midway through the local harvest season although the larger ones may mature later.
In addition to the standard purple stripes, there are two other groups of Purple Stripe varieties, the glazed group and the marbled group. Both seem to have thicker bulb wrappers and fewer cloves per bulb than the standard group with Marbled Purple Stripe garlics averaging about five huge cloves per bulb.
All hardneck garlics grow scapes in the spring with each variety having a characteristic shape based on its genetics with Purple Stripe garlics forming 3/4 of a loop and Rocamboles forming a full double loop before straightening up.
Purple stripes can be very beautiful garlics that range from the very strong, such as Metechi or Skuri #2 or very mild, such as Siberian. Persian Star and Chesnok Red have a rich medium flavor
Artichoke garlics (sativums or softnecks) are the kinds of garlics seen most in the supermarkets in our part of the country. California Early and California Late are grown in huge quantities around Gilroy, California and shipped all over the country and are the generic garlic that most people think of when they think of garlic. In fact, most people around our parts weren't even aware that there was more than one kind of garlic. We think artichoke garlics are among the easiest to grow and seem to less fussy about growing conditions than the others. They have lots of cloves, usually somewhere between 12 and 20, with lots of smaller internal cloves. These are a favorite among people who want to use only a very small amount of garlic in a dish (although I can't imagine why). They appear to feel that if you can taste the garlic in a dish you have used too much and prefer to use the small inner cloves.
Artichokes are generally very large, store well and have a wide range of flavors with some, like Simoneti and Red Toch, being very mild and pleasant and others, such as Inchelium Red and Susanville, have greater depth of flavor. Chinese Purple and Purple Cauldron are much stronger and stick around for a while. The Asiatic group of artichoke garlics tend to send up garlic scapes, despite the fact that they're supposed to be softnecks and have a little more color to the bulb wrappers than the main group, which are usually very white. The Turban group of artichoke garlics tend to be the most colorful artichokes and have fewer cloves per bulb than the others. The turbans also harvest earlier and store less long than the other artichokes and a good bit stronger in taste as well.
Artichoke Garlics are the commercial growers favorite because they are easier to grow and produce larger bulbs that most other garlics. Artichokes are often called red garlics or Italian garlics despite the fact that most are neither red nor were ever grown in Italy. Most of the artichokes that have red as part of their name have no red in them, but we retain the word as it helps to describe exactly which cultivar we are discussing.
Silverskin garlics are usually, but not always, the ones that you see in braids. Silverskins are generally the longest storing of all garlics and have a soft pliable neck that lends itself to braiding and holds up over time better than the artichokes whose necks tend to deteriorate earlier than the silverskins. They are usually fairly hot strong garlics with very few cultivars being mild. They are also usually the last ones to come out of the ground. Their bulb wrappers are very white although the clove covers can be strikingly beautiful as in the case of Nootka Rose or Rose du Var. Silverskins have more cloves per bulb, on the average, than the artichokes but are not nearly as large.
The Creole garlics are a unique and truly beautiful group of garlics. They share characteristics of one kind or another with all other kinds of garlic but are utterly unique and in a class by themselves. Botanists had a hard time pinning them down until Dr. Gail Volk of the USDA in Colorado and Dr. Joachim Keller of Gaterslaben, Germany, independently classified them correctly in 2003. The separate studies verified they were a separate variety all to themselves but that's pretty obvious when you look at them - there's nothing else like them.
Creoles are one of three varieties classified as weakly bolting hardnecks in that not all plants grow a scape, only some of them. They are like a mix of hardneck and softneck. The other two wealky bolting hardnecks are the Asiatic and Turban varieties.
Creoles are downright gorgeous to look at and most are amongt the easiest eating raw garlics owing to a taste that is rich and full but only very moderate pungency (heat), though Creole Red is noticeably stronger and Ajo Rojo is a very hot garlic. They have eight to twelve cloves per bulb arranged in a circular configuration. Both the bulb wrappers and the clove covers have a beautiful vivid rose color and I regard them to be as beautiful as the porcelain garlics even though their configuration is very different. They are easily grown in southern climates and are much more tolerant of adverse weather conditions than most garlics.
All hardneck garlics grow scapes in the spring with each variety having a characteristic shape based on its genetics with Purple Stripe garlics forming 3/4 of a loop and Rocamboles forming a full double loop before straightening up. Interestingly, all the weakly bolting hardnecks, Creoles, Asiatics and Turbans all have the same scape pattern; i.e, they do a U-turn where the scape curls over just enough for the bulbil capsule to point to the ground for a week or more before straightening up.
Asiatics and Turbans share some interesting characteristics and are also the very earliest harvesting of all garlics and if you can grow them you'll have garlic before anyone else's is anywhere near ready to harvest. They are short storing garlics as most don't last more than 5 months at room temperature before sprouting. They are always the first garlics to sprout in the fall. They are also unusual in that they don't mature gradually like all the other garlics; when they are ready, their tops start to fall over, like onions. That's the time to check their bulb size and get ready to start harvesting them before they lose all their bulb wrappers, as they will if they stay in the ground for very long after they are ready to be harvested. If they lose their bulb wrappers, their storage time will be reduced even more than usual.
Asiatics have rather white bulb wrappers which can be thick and parchment-like and straw-colored clove covers and have eight to ten fat cloves with no tiny internal cloves. When they have a scape, their bulbils are few but very large, pea-size bukbils.