No kitchen- or herb garden is complete without garlic – or Allium sativum. Garlic originated in East Europe and at present day herb gardeners, home gardeners and kitchen gardeners the world over cultivate garlic. Not only because of the excellent qualities imparted by garlic, it also keeps garden pests like flies at a distance and as such is great when one practices organic gardening.
Garlic is a member of the onion family and is universally used as a flavoring in cooking. Garlic has been cultivated and grown for many centuries and has never lost its popularity. Garlic's medicinal uses have been recognized by the Ancient Egyptians and the Romans. Even Pythagoras declared garlic the king of all herbs. Garlic is an annual herb and it is an undemanding herb that will grow practically in any climate taking up very little space. In fact all that is required to grow garlic is full sun, and light, well-drained soil as the growth medium.
Garlic contains oil known as alicilium which is a great anti-bacterial agent. The uses of garlic as a herb is unsurpassed. It can be used as a domestic herb, as a culinary herb, as a medicinal herb, as a companion plant in organic gardening practices. When you plan on cultivating garlic in your herb garden then the following paragraphs will provide some guidelines.
Garlic can be cultivated in spring from seed, bulblets or cloves. I found it easier to make use of the store bought cloves of garlic that I carefully break off from the main bulb.
Prepare the soil by working in good quality compost – especially the top layer of the soil. Water the soil thoroughly before planting. Garlic planting can be done in spring or autumn. It is vital to keep the soil moist until the garlic cloves start developing shoots.
When making use of garlic cloves to start your garlic plants then do the following: In spring place the garlic cloves in the soil at a depth of about 4 cm (1.5 inches) and plant the garlic cloves about 8 cm (3 inches) apart. If you want to grow more than one row of garlic, then you need to space the rows about 15 cm (6 inches) apart. Keep the soil where the garlic cloves are planted moist until shooting occurs. Then water very well to keep the soil cool, moist and friable. Leave the garlic plants to mature for the full season and reap your harvest before the frost.
When making use of garlic seeds to start your garlic plants then do the following: In spring or autumn the garlic seeds can be sown in sand-filled seed trays. Keep moist and protected until the garlic plants are well up. Harden off the garlic plants by placing them in the sun for longer periods of time each day. Remember not to allow the soil to dry out. Plant 15 cm (6 inches) apart when the garlic plants are big enough to handle.
In both cases, whether you planted your garlic using garlic cloves or garlic seeds, you can provide your new garlic plants with a boost by applying some fertilizer when the plants are about 14 days old. Limestone Ammonium Nitrate (LAN) is an excellent choice when fertilizing the garlic plants. Use approximately one (1) teaspoon of LAN per garlic plant and water well.
Then after three weeks make use of 3:1:5 fertilizer on your garlic plants. Follow the same procedure as above by using 1 tablespoon of 3:1:5 per square meter. Follow this regime of fertilizing with 3:1:5 every three weeks. Stop fertilizing and watering when the garlic plants when it starts to dry out and the leaves start to turn yellow. When harvesting garlic let them dry in the sun for a few days, then braid the tops together or place them in a net bag. Hanging them in an airy location will help prevent rot. Peeled garlic cloves may be stored in a jar of oil. The garlic retains its flavor and the oil will add flavor to salad dressings.
Thripes are tiny insects that feed on leaves and cause white, blotchy areas on your garlic plants. Thripes might result in your garlic plants weakening and the yield is reduced. Try to prevent the problem that thripes pose by keeping weeds out of the garden to eliminate alternative hosts. A blast of cold water will remove thripes from plants. Soap-Shield and diatomaceous earth may be effective.
The onion maggot is the offspring of a small fly that lays eggs near the base of the plant or on the bulb itself. The maggots kill the garlic plant by burrowing into the stem and bulb. Pull up and destroy any garlic plants before the maggots mature into flies. You may also try making tarpaper collars around the garlic plants. Wood ashes, rock phosphate, or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the base of the garlic plant is said to be effective.
Neck rot is the most common problem. It strikes just after harvest or while the bulbs are in storage. Drying the bulbs at warm temperatures with good ventilation and storing in a cool, airy spot will help prevent the disease.
Blend the butter, garlic and salt as well as the parsley thoroughly.
Slice the bread fairly thick but not right through.Butter each slice of the bread on both sides with the well-blended garlic butter.
Wrap in foil and place in a hot oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or on a barbeque fire while roasting the other foods on the fire.Serve hot. Enjoy.