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Te Puke Times - 2021-06-10

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How to grow garlic in your own garden

GARDENING

Let’s get planting!

First-time garlic grower? Don’t fret, growing garlic is pretty easy, all you need is good seedlings and great soil and you’re away. Garlic season is from April – July, but the traditional day to plant garlic is on June 21, the shortest day of the year and ready to be harvested on the longest day of the year, December 21. Garlic grows best in friable soil. That’s soil that is “crumbly” in texture and is somewhere between clay and sand, when your press the soil it should make a lump but it’s easy to break down. This type of soil is important for garlic since it holds up to 15x its water and prevents soil erosion. Pick a spot in your garden that receives full sun but also part shade and make sure where you’re planting has good air circulation. Plant in well-drained, fertilised bed. Position bulb 2cm below the soil surface. Plant 15cm apart. Keep well weeded. Harvest usually in late December or early January when the leaves die away. Store in an airy dry place out of the sun and rain. Once you’ve planted your garlic, keep an eye out for rust. Rust is a fungal disease that won’t cause much damage to established bulbs but unfortunately, won’t be ideal for your seedlings. So, to avoid that happening we recommend getting your garlic plants in as early as possible and if you had rust in the last two-three years on your garlic or onions, make sure you plant them in a different spot this year. Be sure to keep feeding your garlic, we recommend Tui organic seaweed as it encourages larger bulbs and protects the roots of your plant from temperature fluctuations as well as strengthens the plant against pests and diseases. If you find your garlic has rust, chop off the infected leaves as soon as you spot rust and discard them in the rubbish – not your compost bin as this will spread the infection. Also, give your hands, clothes and gardening tools that might have come into contact with the fungus a good wash to stop the spread. Companion planting can also help prevent diseases. Plant your garlic with carrots, beets, kale, kohlrabi, roses, marigolds and geraniums. Avoid planting asparagus, beans, sage and peas with your garlic seedlings as this could stunt their growth. For more information or inspiration visit awapuni.co.nz

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