Garlic

Garlic, a member of the Amaryllidaceae family, is a bulbous herbaceous plant that is cultivated for its pungent and edible bulb. It can be grown as an annual plant.

There are two types of garlic plants distinguished by their stem structure. One type has a short, woody central stem known as a hard neck, while the other type has a softer pseudo stem composed of overlapping leaf sheaths and is called a soft neck.

Hard neck garlic varieties produce a scape, which is a false flower stock. Although they yield fewer cloves, the cloves themselves tend to be larger. On the other hand, soft neck garlic produces relatively smaller cloves and has a very short and flattened stem, giving way to a pseudo stem.

The garlic plant typically has 6–12 flat, blade-like leaves that can grow up to 50 cm long. In terms of height, it can reach up to 60 cm.

Garlic is primarily used to add flavor to food and can be prepared in various forms such as dried, ground, or powdered to serve this purpose.

Ecological Requirements

Garlic is a resilient perennial plant that can thrive in diverse soil conditions. It exhibits optimal growth when cultivated in a light, well-draining soil enriched with organic matter, ideally maintaining a pH level between 6 and 7. While garlic flourishes in cooler climates, it can withstand temperatures ranging from 9 to 28 degrees Celsius. To ensure its proper development, garlic should be planted in a location that receives ample sunlight throughout the day, as it necessitates a period of cold followed by a period of warmth and light.

Planting & Cultural Practices

The majority of garlic varieties do not yield viable seeds, leading to the plant’s propagation primarily through cloves. These cloves are obtained by separating the bulb into individual segments.

When planting cloves, it is recommended to bury them at a depth of 5-8 cm in the soil. Maintain a spacing of 8-10 cm between individual garlic plants and 15-20 cm between rows. The cloves should be positioned with their pointed side facing upwards and the basal plate facing downwards.

Roots emerge from the basal plate of each clove during the growing process.

Remarkably, every single clove has the potential to develop into a complete garlic head.

Irrigation: The garlic plant necessitates additional watering during periods of drought. However, it is crucial to cease watering a few weeks prior to harvest. This allows the papery skin surrounding the bulb to dry and minimizes the risk of disease development.

Pruning: For hard neck garlic varieties, pruning is recommended when the flowering stalks or scapes begin to straighten. Removing the flower head redirects the plant’s energy towards bulb production. Soft neck garlic, on the other hand, does not require pruning.

Weeding: Weeds pose competition for essential growth factors and can harbor harmful pathogens. Garlic plants have limited competitiveness against weeds, so it is important to maintain a weed-free garden to ensure optimal growth.

Mulching: Mulching serves two purposes: retaining moisture in the soil and suppressing weed growth. As the mulch decomposes over time, it releases nutrients into the soil, which are then absorbed by the plants, aiding in their growth and development.

Pests & Disease Control

Pests

Onion maggot: Infestation by onion maggots can lead to stunted or wilting seedlings, and attempting to pull up affected plants often results in their breakage at the soil line. When infestation occurs during bulbing, the resulting bulbs can become deformed and prone to storage rots after harvest.

Recommended treatment: Drench the soil with either 60ml of PROFILE 440EC or 20ml of PENTAGON 50EC mixed with 20 liters of water.

Thrips: Thrips cause significant economic losses as they feed on plant sap by cutting the epidermis of leaves or stems. This feeding activity creates white silvery patches on the deformed leaves.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 5ml of ALONZE 50EC, 30ml of PROFILE 440EC, or 40ml of DEFENDER 25EC mixed with 20 liters of water.

Nematodes: Infestation by nematodes can result in various symptoms, including an erratic plant stand in the field, stunted growth, yellowing, deformed bulbs, and swelling of the stems. The root system may lack fine roots, and round or irregular lesions can form on the roots.

Recommended treatment: Drench the soil with either 10ml of ALONZE 50EC or apply a mixture of 50kg of fertilizer with 2kg of ADVENTURE 0.5GR as a basal application of fertilizer.

Diseases

Garlic mosaic virus (GarMV): Infection by GarMV results in the formation of mosaic patterns, chlorotic mottling, and streaks on the leaves. It also causes stunted plant growth and reduced bulb size. The virus is transmitted by aphids.

Recommended treatment: Control aphids by using either 10ml of KINGCODE ELITE 50EC, 8ml of LEXUS 247SC, or 5g of PRESENTO 200SP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Damping off: Damping off refers to the rotting of seeds and seedlings before they emerge from the soil. The pathogen can also attack the collar region of seedlings on the soil surface, causing rot and eventual collapse and death of the seedlings.

Recommended treatment: Drench the soil with 100g of PYRAMID 700WP mixed with 20 liters of water. Additionally, spray either 50g of CHANCETYL ELITE 800WDG or 40g of MILLIONAIRE 690WDG mixed with 20 liters of water.

Bacterial soft rot: Bacterial soft rot is primarily a problem that affects mature garlic bulbs. Affected scales initially exhibit a water-soaked appearance and turn pale yellow to light brown. As the disease progresses, the invaded fleshy scales become soft and sticky, leading to the breakdown of the bulb’s interior. Diseased bulbs may excrete a watery, foul-smelling thick liquid from the neck.

Recommended treatment: Drench the soil with either 100g of GREENCOP 500WP, 100g of COLONIZER 440WP, or 100g of TRINITY GOLD 425WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Purple blotch: Symptoms of purple blotch appear as small, sunken, whitish flecks with purple centers on the leaves and flower stalks. These lesions can girdle the leaves or stalks, causing them to droop. Infected plants fail to develop bulbs.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 50g of COLONIZER 440WP, 10ml of ABSOLUTE 375SC, or 50g of TRINITY GOLD 425WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Colletotrichum blight/anthracnose/twister disease: Initial symptoms of this disease include water-soaked pale yellow spots on the leaves, which gradually spread and cover the entire leaf blade. Affected leaves shrivel and droop.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 15g of RANSOM 600WP, 20ml of DUCASSE 250EC, or 50g of PROVIDENCE 400WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Fusarium basal rot/basal rot: Early signs of infection include yellowing leaves and stunted plant growth, which progress to drying from the tip downwards. In the early stage, the roots may turn pink and rot, while in advanced stages, decay starts from the lower ends of the bulb, ultimately resulting in plant death.

Recommended treatment: Drench the soil with either 100g of PYRAMID 700WP or 50g of GEARLOCK TURBO 250WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

White Rot: Initial symptoms of white rot include yellowing and dieback of leaf tips. Later, scales, stem plates, and roots become destroyed. The bulbs become soft, water-soaked, and develop a white, fluffy, or cottony growth of mycelium with abundant black sclerotia resembling mustard grains.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 40g of MILLIONAIRE 690WDG, 40ml of RIMETA GOLD 300SC, or 15ml of EXEMPO CURVE 250SC mixed with 20 liters of water.

Downy Mildew: Symptoms of downy mildew are characterized by a whitish, furry growth on the leaves, along with yellow discoloration. Infection can lead to the death of younger plants and stunted growth in older ones. Diseased leaf tips and tissues eventually collapse. Bulbs in storage may develop a blackened neck, become shriveled, and the outer scales may become water-soaked. Premature sprouting of bulbs may also occur.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 25g of GEARLOCK TURBO 250WP, 40g of FORTRESS GOLD 720WP, or 50g of TRINITY GOLD 425WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Botrytis Rot: Infection by Botrytis Rot results in the development of water-soaked stems with gray, fuzzy fungal growth. This disease is also known as “neckrot.”

Recommended treatment: Spray either 15ml of EXEMPO CURVE 250SC, 10ml of IPRODE 500SC, or 10ml of EXPLORER 3SL mixed with 20 liters of water.

Penicillium Decay: Infection by Penicillium Decay leads to the decay of seed cloves, often resulting in stunted, wilted, and yellowing plants. The disease can also cause reduced growth. The fungus may produce bluish-green masses of spores on the affected cloves.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 10ml of ABSOLUTE 375SC or 50g of TRINITY GOLD 425WP mixed with 20 liters of water.

Black Mould: Infection typically occurs through the neck tissues as the foliage dies down at maturity. Infected bulbs become black in color around the neck, and the affected scales shrivel. Powdery black spores develop in masses as streaks along veins on and between the outer dry scales. The infection can progress from the neck into the central fleshy scales of the bulb.

Recommended treatment: Spray either 15ml of EXEMPO CURVE 250SC, 10ml of EXPLORER 3SL, or 10ml of ABSOLUTE 375SC mixed with 20 liters of water.

Maturity, Harvesting & Post-Harvest Handling

Garlic is considered ready for harvesting when the plants start to exhibit yellow or brown coloration and begin to topple over.

To harvest the bulbs, it is advisable to carefully dig around the plant and gently lift the bulbs using a fork. For large-scale operations, onion or potato lifters can be employed to facilitate the lifting process. It is important to perform the harvest while some green leaves are still present on the plant.

After harvesting, garlic can be utilized immediately or undergo a curing process for extended storage.

Curing garlic involves hanging the plants in bunches or spreading them out on a rack or screen. It is essential to keep the plants intact during the curing phase, refraining from removing the tops until the garlic has thoroughly dried. This process should take place in a cool, dry location with adequate ventilation.

Once the bulbs are completely dry, they can be stored for up to a year.

Storage of garlic can be accomplished using net bags, crates, pallet boxes, or bulk bins. When utilizing bins or boxes for storage, it is important to provide some ventilation space. Bags of garlic are typically stored on pallets, and proper stacking should be employed to ensure adequate air circulation.

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