How to Grow Garlic in Australia
Growing Garlic in Australia is best planted in March in cooler climates or April in warmer climates. Try and source organically grown and stored garlic as a lot of commercial garlic has been sprayed with growth retardants and anti-fungal sprays. The garlic we have available will grow well in a warmer climate but will also do well in a more temperate climate.
Garlic likes a light soil that drains well. You can plant it in a raised bed, a mounded row or a pot. It likes a reasonably neutral soil so add some lime a couple of weeks before planting if necessary. It also loves nitrogen – so dig a generous helping of manure and compost into the bed sometime before planting and gently incorporate some blood & bone underneath your mulch after you have planted.
Plant your garlic cloves about 20cms apart. The clove should be about 5cms underneath the soil with the pointed end up. Cover your beds with about another 5cms of light mulch (don’t forget to sprinkle some blood & bone under the mulch). Water in the seed and wait.
After about 3 – 6 weeks you should notice the garlic shoot making its way through the mulch. If it’s really dry then you can lightly water your garlic – about 5 litres per square meter every week or so.
Once your garlic is up and growing the most important thing is to keep it weed free. If you want gourmet garlic then keep away the competition. Also you can apply a foliar feed every month – a fish emulsion / kelp mix is good. Again if it is dry then give it regular light watering, as per step three.
If you do this then your garlic will grow happily through the winter. When early spring has arrived give your garlic a good side dressing of liquid nitrogen fertiliser – a fish emulsion or worm wee application will be fine. Stop the foliar sprays from here on in.
Finally, depending on the variety grown, sometime from mid to late spring your garlic plant will start to die back. When most of the outer leaves have yellowed off and you are left with about 4 healthy inner leaves you should pull your garlic plant from the ground.
You can choose to eat your garlic green or hang it up to cure– either way it should taste great, particularly after such a long wait! You can bundle 4 or 5 plants together when drying. The most important thing is to make sure they are in a cool, dry, well ventilated space.