Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Been a looooong time since I've posted anything on BLF. My bad :)

I started, or at least attempted, to grow garlic back in 2012. At the same time I planted some of the same cloves for my parents at their place out at Greenbank. This photo was taken around Sep after our very first harvest of garlic. Mine is the small one. Sadly that was as big as they got here.

Here are my garlic from the first harvest in 2012, all golf ball size or smaller.

Fast forward to Spring 2015. After some years of experimentation and research, here are some of the bulbs (same cultivar from 3 years ago) I pulled up a few weeks ago. A bit better in size, wouldn't you say?

Well, check this out.

That is my biggest bulb next to an average sized bulb from my parents. Again, grown from the same batch of cloves from the same cultivar. And mine were in the ground for 2 weeks longer!

Check out how plumb the bulb is. The individual cloves are huge.

Sometimes you just can't win LOL.

Definitely something to do with microclimate I reckon.

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I think most of us are having the same trouble mate.  Except for the damn Jan.  She got a cracking crop.  

Still Joseph you certainly improved the 2012 harvest to a respectable bulb size. Care to tell us your secrets?

Hi Phil, I think it was a combination of

  1. full sunlight - I mean sun from dawn till dusk
  2. adding organic green/brown matter to the bed a few weeks before planting. As my bed is shallow I need the organic matter to assist in retaining water. This year I just mixed in some semi decomposed lawn clippings.
  3. adding some kind of manure that isn't poultry based. This year I used alpaca and cow manure.

I planted 50+ cloves. About 90-95% produced a bulb. 12-15 of those are the size you see in the photo above, most are "usable", to put it politely, and some are completely forgettable, literally and figuratively! We lost a lot of last season's cloves to rot so I planted the 1st grade ones (size wise) at my parents since their location has a track record of producing gigantic bulbs. Most of my crop were grown from 2nd grade cloves.

And don't believe the advice to leave the garlic in the ground until all but 2 leaves are brown. Maybe that works in the northern hemisphere but here you should pull them out when the bottom 2-3 leaves start going brown. Otherwise you'll end with split bulbs. I suspect it's because we tend to experience a relatively heavy downpour around Aug each year just when the bulbs don't need watering.

Impressive Joseph ,just wondering when you actually planted them and are they the cultivar known as glen large .Mine don't even look like they are ready to be pulled although the Russian garlic I  acquired from a friend in Gloucester in NSW  wich has a very cold winter is starting to die off and looks like it has done well. I will post pics if they are worth it.

Thanks for sharing mate.

Great report Joseph ~  Wonder does your parents place get colder temperature / frost ?  Theirs look bigger than the Chinese and Mexican garlic in shops?

A full day of sun is part of the answer I am sure. It just happens where I've grown mine gets that amount of sun. And 'just enough' nutrients, always a tricky one to guess right.

Definitely Elaine. I planted some in another bed where I expect the soil was much richer but the location meant it only received 4-5 hrs of direct sunlight a day. While the stalks were very respectable in size, the bulbs were a disappointment.

@Florence, they get a couple of nights of frost at Greenbank and their night temps over winter are a few degrees lower than us. Some of the bigger bulbs than the big one in the photo have split.  They were planted in late Apr and harvested in early Sep, should have been harvested in mid-late Aug in hindsight. So they weren't in the ground long at all.

@Darren, I planted mine in mid-Apr and harvested in late Aug. I don't know what the cultivar is called. We got them from a Greek gentleman. He lives on acreage and plants over 400 cloves a season. He really loves his garlic. He's been planting these for 30 years.

I would really love to grab a couple of cloves mate and do a swap sometime,are you chasing anything at all.Dont live far from greenbank

Sure no worries, happy to swap. I'm not living at Greenbank though.

Loved the series of big, bigger, biggest! My mouth was open by the time I go to the doozy at the bottom.

Mine definitely didn't get enough sun. They were overshadowed by other plants during their time in the bed. Could be the biggest reason for my spectacular failure. Next time (sigh) I will need to devote a bed to spuds and garlic alone.

(Going back for another look at that giant garlic.)


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