FAQ’s About Growing Garlic

When to plant garlic, the best variety, garlic diseases, how to water… We’ve answered all the questions you’ve asked about growing garlic.

Can I plant garlic I buy from the supermarket?

You should not plant the common white garlic you buy from the supermarket. It is usually treated to prolong its shelf life and stop it from sprouting.

What is the best garlic to grow?

Soft neck is the best variety to grow in Zambia. It’s the common garlic you find in supermarkets. Garlic is adaptable to growing conditions. However, it can take years for it to adapt. So, you can try different varieties on small patches until it adapts.

Which month of the year is recommended for planting garlic?

The best time to grow garlic in Zambia is from February to April.

What soil PH is recommended for garlic?

Between 6.0 and 7.5 is the ideal pH for growing garlic.

How much nitrogen does garlic need?

Garlic needs more nitrogen than most farmers think, mostly during its initial growth phase as it emerges and spreads its leaves. Do not add nitrogen after garlic begins to form a seedhead. If it has too much nitrogen at that time it will grow leaves instead of a bulb!

Why does my garlic not grow?

Garlic has a shallow root system, therefore, stops growing when the roots get to hot or the soil is too dry. So, mulch to prevent weeds and preserve moisture

Does one need to peel off the whole wrap to plant the clove ?

Break up each bulb into cloves, it is these cloves which you plant NOT the whole bulb. You can plant peeled or unpeeled because when you separate the cloves, some peels will come off. However, try not to peel because peeling can damage or bruise the bulbs.

Is there anything I should know before planting garlic?

Break up the bulbs and plant within 24 hours being careful not to bruise or damage them. Plant the cloves 3 – 4cm below the surface, root down (pointy end up) 15 cm apart.

Where can I get information about garlic diseases?

To read about garlic diseases and common garlic pests, click here.

How should I water?

You’ll have to water your garlic during dry periods and carefully weed as often as you can. Stop watering completely during the last few weeks.  Apply sulphate of potash to your garlic to give it all the nutrients it needs to grow.

How do I know when the garlic is ready for harvest?

Garlic is ready for harvest when the lower leaves start to yellow and fold and the garlic goes “weak at the knees” and begins to lie on the ground. Dig a test bulb when 2-3 leaves turn brown. If the bulbs are large and the skin is filled out and tight, then it’s ready. Stop watering and wait for them to dry before harvesting. If you leave them too long, the cloves will split through the skins.

VERY IMPORTANT Garlic planting tip

Make sure to plant the garlic right side up. The pointed end is the top side. This should be planted up. Garlic planted the wrong way will not grow as big or nice of a bulb.

Related articles

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How to make money growing garlic – Click here

14 thoughts on “FAQ’s About Growing Garlic

  1. it would be helpful to linking us with where to get the seed. am interested but dont know where to start from looking for the seed

  2. This is a crop that can surely impower most of our youths and women in rural Zambia as nutrition and income can be realised from garlic. I think, adequate extension knowledge is important to enhance diversification and rotation as regards the production of garlic alongside other leguminous crops and avert dependence on chemical fertilisers. Cooperatives should view such crops as membership empowerement opportunities as opposed to fertiliser farming. I know the question that will arise from our Zambian farmers. Produce market!

  3. Am happy to know that alot of people are interested in growing garlic,l have given it a try and now making seedlings help me to advertise especially in the month of January going forward.

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