Common name: Garlic
Scientific name: Allium sativum
Uses: Culinary and medicinal.Sauteed or fresh garlic tastes vibrant and onionlike. It is added to many dishes, including spaghetti sauce, pork roast, herb butter, fresh salads, beans, stuffings, dressings, stews, soups, and marinades. The cloves are either minced or added whole and removed before the dish is served. Garlic is said to have medicinal qualities.
History: Garlic has been around for thousands of years. While its origin is unknown, some people believe it originated in Siberia, then spread to the Mediterranean area, becoming naturalized in the process. Classical writers such as Homer, Chaucer, and Shakespeare mention garlic, and it was present in the diets of early Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians.
Description: Garlic has long, flat, solid leaves and a culinary bulb. Its grayish leaves are about 12 inches long and up to an inch wide. A round-stemmed flower stalk originates from the center of the plant and produces a ball-shaped, compact collection of white flowers that are sometimes tinged with lavender. Each bulb multiplies during the growing season, producing highly flavored segments called cloves. Each segment as well as the 4 to 15 cloves comprising a bulb is wrapped in a white papery sheath. Some varieties have a reddish sheath.
Plant type: Perennial
Hardiness: Hardiness zone 3.
Height: 24 to 36 inches
Width: 6 inches
Soil: rich, moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 4.5 to 8.3
Disease: None noted.
Cultivation: Spring is the best time to grow garlic. Break bulblets apart and plant each clove, root-end downward, about 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep in cultivated soil. Cover each drill with soil and water well. Spear-like leaves soon will appear, followed by flower stalks. The plants tolerate poor soil but will thrive if manure or amendments are added yearly to poor soil. Divide and replant garlic every three to four years. It can be grown indoors.
Companion planting: Garlic and roses benefit each other in
the garden. Garlic is a natural pest deterrent that repels aphids. It helps
peaches, tomatoes, cabbages, and eggplant. If garlic is near peas or beans,
however, it inhibits growth.
Propagation: Division or seeds.
Flowering period: Spring and summer
Garden notes: Garlic is an easy, hardy plant for beginners to grow. Plant cloves in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. When flower stalks appear, cut them back so that the plant¹s energy goes into producing useful bulbs. Cloves can be planted in late autumn so that they will not sprout in the fall.