Fruit and Vegetables

Garlic - Allium

Garlic - Allium

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The garlic

Garlic is a herbaceous, perennial, bulbous plant cultivated for bulbs widely used in cooking and for antiseptic and refreshing properties. Its botanical name is allium.
It can be grown throughout Italy. It grows well in fertile and well-drained soils. It does not tolerate wet soils in which, in fact, it is more likely to be affected by fungal diseases.
Garlic is one of the most used aromas in the kitchen, essential to give liveliness to dishes. It has always been considered a cure-all thanks to its numerous medicinal virtues.
We add that its cultivation is rather simple, in addition to needing very little care and its maturation (especially of the early varieties) takes place in a period in which the garden is rather bare (and will not steal space for more profitable products): we will deduce it which is certainly worth adding to our crops.

History and characteristics of garlic

Allium sativum is a herbaceous plant cultivated as an annual belonging to the Liliaceae family. It has basal leaves up to 50 cm long. At maturity it produces an umbrella-shaped inflorescence up to 80 cm high, whose petals can go from white to pink to deep purple. From these develop fruits that contain seeds, which are rarely able to germinate. The propagation occurs mostly through division of the cloves (commonly called segments). These, after a period of dormancy, emit a bud and are therefore ready to be inserted into the ground. In the kitchen it has always been used to flavor raw vegetables, salads and sauces. It also goes very well with meat, soups, fish, mushrooms and stuffing.
Allium has antiseptic, antispasmodic, digestive and even aphrodisiac properties. It has a good content of vitamins as well as minerals such as manganese and iodine.
It seems to have originated in Central Asia, but it was certainly known by the Egyptians. In Europe it was introduced and spread by the Romans, whose less well-off classes made a really massive use of them. Its popularity has always been increasing in the Middle Ages to the present day.
In many areas he has also been given the gift of removing evil creatures such as witches and vampires.

Height From 30 cm to 1 m
Type of crop easy
Need water very light
Growth From fast to slow, depending on the species and the period of planting
Multiplication Division of bulbils
Rusticitа Rustic up to -15 ° C
Exposure Full sun
usages Vegetable garden also possible in pot
soil Very adaptable. No soils too compact and moist
pH Alkaline, neutral
Soil moisture Always well drained

How to grow garlic

The best times for cultivation are two: the month of November-the first days of December and February-March. They are sown in rows (about 50 cm apart) leaving about 15 cm between each plant. They must be fertilized in the spring period with trivalent slow-release fertilizers (with high potassium percentages).
Allium can be easily reproduced using cloves (bulbils). They must be planted at a depth of about 6-8 cm, remembering to point the tip upwards. Also in this case the best period is the winter one.
As we have said, the cultivation of garlic is not at all difficult, especially if the need to rotate the land is respected. This is essential to avoid the onset of diseases.
Exposure and climate
Garlic is a plant that is particularly resistant to cold (even down to -15 ° C). The best results, however, are obtained in rather mild areas or in any case by beginning the cultivation when the temperatures and the hours of light are increasing.
The essential conditions for the differentiation of bulbils are temperatures not lower than 10-15 ° and at least 11 hours of light a day. To obtain the best results it is therefore strongly recommended to insert the plants with southern exposure and when the temperatures never drop below 15 ° C, on the contrary it is between 18 ° and 23 °.
However, there are some varieties (especially of white and purple garlic) that are very resistant to cold (and less sensitive to humidity and rot) and allow early harvesting to be obtained, already in March. For these you can proceed with the planting also in autumn, generally in October.


Garlic is a very resistant plant and can be successfully cultivated in a large number of different soils, from the most sandy and siliceous to the clayey and rather compact ... However, there is a need for good drainage of water because these bulbs are particularly subject to to rot.
To improve the softness of the soil, and thus facilitate the growth of the bulb and its collection, it is good to devote oneself in time to a profound processing of the area by incorporating at least 300-400 q per hectare of mature manure or compost. To have the best results the ideal is to do this operation the year before the implant. Before implanting, the surface is refined and all the weeds are removed. In small soils (for example in a vegetable garden) if the soil is still too compact, it is possible to create ditches about 20 cm high and as wide, then sowing at the top. In this way the water drainage will be facilitated.

Planting garlic

Cultivated garlic is declined in white, purple or pink varieties. To the first two categories belong early and rustic bulbs that generally settle in autumn and gather around March. They are intended for consumption mainly from preserved. Pink garlic is more delicate and should be planted from March to April (or in the autumn in the South) and harvested about a month later. Its bulbs are less bulky and easier to rot.
In well-ventilated soil conditions, about 2-3 deep furrows will be created, approximately 20 cm long. Place a clove every 10 cm, with the tip facing upwards. We cover slightly using a small hoe. Avoid watering, as garlic does not like moist soils.
Generally 25-30 cloves per square meter are needed
In general, white garlic can be planted in autumn in the Center-South, in March in the North.
Pink garlic, on the other hand, can be planted in autumn in central and southern Italy, where it matures in about a month. In the North, instead, it must be implanted from April onwards.

Approaches and partnerships

Garlic benefits when it happens to a renewal crop that leaves the soil with good residual fertility. For example, it is ideal to plant after potatoes, cabbage and spinach.
Combining garlic with other vegetables is particularly difficult due to the high sensitivity to humidity. In particular, garlic depresses the growth of all the Fabaceae while it is advantageous if associated with tomatoes, parsley, raspberries, strawberries and cucumbers.
For phytosanitary reasons it is advisable to wait at least 4 years before repeating garlic in the same area.

Crop care

We always keep the soil clean with frequent weeding.
If the bulb should come out, carefully tinker with it until only the leaves are visible.
If the plant produces the flower stems in advance it will be good to remove them to prevent the plant from concentrating on the production of the fruits and seeds rather than on the accumulation of nutrients in the hypogeum apparatus and on the enlargement of the bulb.

Diseases and parasites of garlic

Garlic can become the prey of several parasites, in particular of the cruise, the night and the fly.
However, cryptogams are much more dangerous, as they can seriously damage the crop. Downy mildew, rust, heart rot and sclerotia disease are particularly fearful.
Almost all of these diseases, however, can be avoided rather easily by regularly rotating the crops.

Garlic collection and storage

Garlic is generally harvested 4 or 5 months after planting, if it occurs in the spring.
If instead we proceeded in the autumn we will have to wait about 9 months. We must proceed when the leaves are completely dry, on a hot and dry day. Gently extract the bulbs from the ground carefully avoiding damage to them (since this could then cause the rotting). Let us spread them on a cloth and leave them in the sun for a few days so that they lose a good part of the residual moisture. However, maximum attention must be paid to rainfall at this stage.
After this period we will move them to a dry, airy and possibly dark room (we can also cover them with a thick blanket). The ideal is to store them at temperatures between 5 and 10 ° C.
If desired we can weave the garlic leaves to create pretty braids and then hang them in the air. This will further facilitate conservation. However, we monitor the bulbs with some care and regularity so as to immediately eliminate the segments that appear to be compromised by molds (which would then extend to others).
Once the dormancy period is over, it is advisable to keep it at temperatures above 18 ° C to prevent further cold from germinating. The ideal place in this phase is generally the kitchen.
In general we can say that white garlic can be conserved for about 6 months. Pink garlic, on the other hand, should be consumed as soon as possible.

Garlic - Allium: Garlic variety

The different types of garlic can be traced back to two main varieties: white garlic and pink garlic. The first is very rustic, productive and storable. It has a very pronounced taste and is the one that is most commonly found in every season. The second has a more delicate aroma and smaller segments, but is more susceptible to humidity and therefore more difficult to preserve.
In Italy there are some particularly appreciated cultivars: Aglio di Vessalico, Aglio di Sulmona, Aglio di Caraglio, Aglio di Nubia, Aglio di Resia.
On a horticultural level, Piedmontese fat garlic, Neapolitan white and Piacenza white are easily found. Among the roses, the ones of Agrigento and the Neapolitan are common, both with a particularly delicate taste.
Among the reds, more rare, we point out that of Sulmona and that of Trapani.

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White garlic

Pink garlic

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