There are several stages in the life cycle of garlic, starting from the germination to flowering stages.
Understanding these growth stages can push your garlic growing to the next level, thus enabling you to earn more profit if you're planting commercially or to get tastier and healthier garlic cloves if you're growing for yourself and your family.
When you're growing garlic, the delicate moment comes when it is time to harvest the plant as it is done stage by stage.
In this article, we will be looking at the various garlic growing stages and how to maximize your garlic production.
When Is the Best Time to Grow Garlic?
Garlic belongs to the Allium bulb family, which also consists of onions and leeks.
To get the most favorable results, garlic is best planted in fall, that is, around late September to mid-October.
This occurs so that the garlic cloves will develop roots and are well established by the time its growth is slowed down or stopped by the cold December.
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However, garlic can also be planted in the spring, that is, late March to mid-April, especially if you have a long growing season.
This will result in a reduction in the size of the garlic cloves, but you will be compensated with the delicious garlic scapes or shoots.
Garlic Growing Stages
Below are the 6 different garlic growing stages you should get familiar with in order to grow a clove of healthy garlic.
Stage 1: Germination
Growing garlic is a straightforward process. The sprout or shoot of garlic may break through the soil in about 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the species planted and the weather conditions of your environment.
When the sprout begins to emerge from the soil, ensure the soil is evenly moisturized throughout the growing season in order to have loose soil that enables air to get into it.
Garlic doesn't compete well with weeds, so ensure that you remove all weeds in order to give the plant the opportunity to grow with the aid of the nutrients in the soil.
Stage 2: Green/spring garlic
Green garlic is essentially immature garlic, resulting from farmers thinning their garlic stock, but because it has been popularized in dishes, it has become a crop in its own right.
It is one of the first items that will be harvested from the planted garlic.
It usually comes out around mid-March and can last till May.
Stage 3: Garlic scapes
Unlike the green garlic, the scapes are the soft stem of the garlic plant that grows out of the garlic bulbs before they coil.
When it is harvested, it resembles long curly beanstalks.
Stage 4: Young bulbs
About seven to eight months after planting, young bulbs of garlic can be harvested.
They will be a lot smaller and succulent, but they add a strong taste and texture to the meals they are used in.
Because the young bulbs have soft or succulent skins, they must be eaten within a week to avoid the rotting of the garlic.
Stage 5: Mature Bulbs
At about 9 months, the lower two or three leaves of the plant turn yellowish-brown, indicating that the garlic bulbs are mature and ready to be harvested.
If you leave them a bit longer in the soil, they will lose their protective covering, and their storage capacity will be significantly reduced.
All you have to do is gently loosen the soil with a trowel and yank the garlic plant out of the ground at its neck.
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Stage 6: Flowering Stage
Flowers in garlic are formed from any untrimmed scapes, and the flower serves as an indicator of the time the garlic is ready for harvesting.
It can also be left in the field to produce seeds or as an aesthetic.
When the garlic plant is ready for harvest, the untrimmed scapes will straighten up and form the flower.
If the garlic is left in the ground after the flower has grown, most species will die while a minority will regrow from the bulbs underground.
Growing garlic isn't hard, but the harvesting part presents the problem if not handled carefully and delicately.
The positive thing about the growing of garlic is that every part of the plant can be eaten at its different stages.
An understanding of the growing stages of garlic will ensure an all-year-round availability of delicious garlic.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does garlic take to grow?
The normal range of garlic growth is usually 8 to 9 months, though, from the 7th month, some parts are ready for harvesting
What month does garlic grow best?
To get optimum results, an ideal time to plant garlic is usually from late September to mid-October.
What are the stages of garlic growth?
Garlic has 6 stages of growth, and they are:
- Green/spring garlic
- Garlic scapes
- Young bulbs
- Mature bulbs
- Flowering stage
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How long does garlic take to sprout after planting?
About 4 to 8 weeks after planting, the garlic sprout or shoot breaks through the soil.
Can garlic grow in pots?
YES, garlic can be grown in pots though a depth of at least 6 inches is essential to enable the freedom of roots.
How tall do garlic plants grow?
A healthy garlic plant should grow and be between the ranges of 18-24 inches.
Should you peel garlic before you plant it?
When planting garlic, it is wise to remove the outer covering of the bulb and separate it into individual cloves but leave the thin papery cover on.
Does garlic grow back every year?
Garlic is a perennial crop though most farmers choose to grow it as an annual crop. YES, garlic does grow back every year. When it is grown as a perennial crop, it means less maintenance and a year-round harvest.
In conclusion, garlic is a crop that has 6 stages of growth, which begin to manifest around the 7th month after planting.
These stages produce parts that are edible, so no part of the garlic is wasted.
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