Tuesday, 17 January 2012

My first harvest of garlic...

I was so excited upon my return from overseas to see that the tops of my garlic had died off…what does that mean? They are ready! So I got digging and found the most amazing site. What I had planted as just a tiny clove had become a whole bulb! I am continually amazed at how remarkable nature is. So it started when I got my hands on some organic garlic seedlings at a market, I have never grown garlic before and basically I just stuck it in the ground to see what would happen and I have been very pleased with the results.
It is very worth growing your own garlic and I am going to put in even more this year. Garlic is grown globally, however, most of the production belongs to China. So that garlic purchased in supermarkets looks ‘clean and perfect’ it is often bleached using chlorine or benzoyl peroxide. Gamma radiation is also used to inhibit growth (Gamma radiation is not allowed to be used in Australia but it does not prevent foodstuffs effected to enter the Australian foodmarket). Australia also requires that conventional garlic must be fumigated with methyl bromide; a colourless gas and potent chemical used as an insecticide, fungicide and herbicide. This chemical has been banned, however, there are exemptions in place for quarantine purposes. See:  http://www.apvma.gov.au/products/review/completed/methyl_bromide.php

So, have I scared you enough to start growing your own garlic? Here’s a helping hand on how to do it:
Autumn is usually the best time to put it in, now it will take a while to harvest the bulbs but it is definitely worth it and it can also be grown in pots if you don’t have the space. Purchase some organic garlic, break the bulb up into the cloves and pop it into the ground or pots. They don’t need too much room but remember, they don’t like acidic soil so if this is your problem, add a splash of dolomite (bag available from nursery, hardware store). I pretty much neglected my garlic, feeding it occasionally and getting water when the rest of the garden did. Too easy. DO IT! 

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