Garlic is an important bulbs crop used worldwide. It belongs to the family Amaryllidaceae and scientifically called as Allium sativum. Garlic finds its use in food and also medicine. It can also be used as a source of biological source of pesticide. Recent studies find it to be rich in antioxidants. Therefore garlic is an excellent crop to be grown.
How to grow Garlic farm
The garlic must be grown in well-drained soil. It should be more drained than that required for onion cultivation. In general, well-drained loamy soil is the best for garlic cultivation.
The soil pH must be between 6-7 and it cannot grow in alkaline or saline soils.
Garlic can be planted during the season of autumn but it can also be done during the early period of spring. During cooler climates, the planting can be done between September and November. February or March is the suitable season in dry areas. In areas with high frost, it must be done two weeks after the first fall. In hilly regions, the suitable seasons are June- July, and October- November.
Propagation of garlic
Garlic propagates by its cloves. Each unit of a garlic bulb is called its clove. In some cases, bulbils are produced which helps in propagation.
Selection of garlic
For the planting of garlic, much care must be taken for the selection of cloves with appropriate size. Each clove must be of 8 -10 mm in diameter. must be rejected. They may produce bulbs of poor quality leading to many losses. In general 500 kg of cloves are required per hectare.
Preparation of the field
For the cultivation of garlic, the land must be plowed for 4- 5 times to fine tilth. It must be ploughed with ridges and furrows at a spacing of 30 cm. The cloves must be planted at a spacing of 15×10 cm.
The cloves must be broken but retaining the papery husk.
Each clove must be placed such that the wider root portion must face upwards. Manual planting is usually done.
Mulching the field is really a good method to prevent overwintering in cool areas. It can be removed during spring. The flowers blooming spring must be removed as they would decrease the size of the bulb. Garlic requires more nutrition. So providing proper nutrients is very important at proper time.
The garlic requires 50 tonnes /hectare of farmyard manure at the final plow.
Azospirillum can be applied 2kg per ha and Phosphobacteria as same as former. The supply of NPK must be 75, 75, 40 kg /ha. Nitrogen supply must be 35 kg/ ha before planting and the remaining after planting. 1 tonne of neem cake must be applied as basal.
Other organic fertilizers
The sandy coastal soil must be supplied with guano and blood meal for good results. Generally, bone meal is very rich in Ca & P. Hardwood ash is a good source of K. Generally bone meal must be applied only once.
The bulbs must be planted as soon as the land is plowed. Increase in K percentage will increase the size of bulbs. Organic fertilizers can be fed at an interval of 2-3 weeks. 50 days after planting the N supply must be decreased. We can apply the organic fertilizers even by dissolving in water.
Weeding involves removing the scapes of garlic which is the stem of the garlic. Because it would expense the energy of the plant in the growth of the stem thereby reducing the bulb size. Therefore it must be cut off at regular intervals. Other than this weeding must be done once in a month. Nonchemical methods are the most recommended.
Pests of garlic and their control methods
The presence of sulfur-containing compounds prevents the crop from various pests. Other than that there are some pests causing damages to the crop. Bulb mites are white, shiny and globular pests. They reduce the harvest and causes stunted growth. To prevent the damages by bulb mites, rotating the plantlets is the suitable way. Planting garlic the next year must be skipped.
Leaf miner, the so-called Liriomyza huidobrensis lay eggs and produce small hatchlings. It would give rise to tiny off-white larva. It causes visible damage like changing the color of the bulb. To safeguard the plant, use the floating row covers. These prevent the fly stage of the pest from attacking the plant. Azadirachtin present in neem oil also has controlling properties against the pest.
White curl mite is another pest which produces stunted leaf growth. It is zoologically called Eriphyes lucipae. It causes drying out of cloves. It is the vector of yellow streak virus. The pest is tiny and invisible. The best way to prevent this pest is to dip the cloves in hot water before planting.
Nematodes, Ditylenchus dipsaci is a microscopic worm. It can live without water for several days. It causes invisible changes to the crop. It produces deformities, discoloration and tissue collapse. It results in decimation of garlic. It can be prevented by the application of Metarigium anisopili at a rate of 20 kg /ha.
Thrips are another type of pests causing many damages to garlic. They suck the sap and slow down the growth of the bulb. The bulbs may wilt and die. To prevent them 1-3 % of neem oil can be applied. In the morning, the beetles can be killed manually. 10% of Neem seed juice can also be applied. To 10 liters of water 30 ml of Nilgiri oil, 300 ml of Daskavya can be added and sprayed which is the best organic way to prevent thrips.
Harvesting the crop is usually done after 4-5 months after planting. The harvest-ready crops bend a turn yellow or brown. It usually is done manually. The yield may be 10- 20 tonnes /hectare.
It is the process of removing an excess of moisture in harvested bulbs. Initially, it is done in the field. The bulbs must be covered to prevent damages by the sun. The bulbs must be exposed to the sun for 7-8 weeks and then stored.
The garlic is separated according to its size i.e its diameter. They are graded as large-sized, medium-sized and small-sized. They have to be stored in well-ventilated rooms. Loss in weight during storage of bulbs can be prevented by spraying 3,000 ppm of maleic hydrazide 3 weeks prior to harvest.