The generally used part of the plant is the bulb, subdivided in turn into small segments and covered by some leaves, called tunic: precisely on the basis of the color taken from these external leaves, numerous cultivars are distinguished, among which we recall the two varieties traditionally used, or the red tunic (whose cultivation cycle is faster) and the white tunic (which manages to keep better over time).
Widely used also in the herbal sector, thanks to its antiseptic, hypotensive and above all antibiotic properties: thanks to these properties, garlic is also a valuable ally in organic cultivation, since even with its cultivation alone, it manages to make the soil surrounding less prone to fungal, parasitic microbial attacks, making it a valuable ally with regards to intercropping.
Garlic is not a particularly demanding plant in terms of cultivation techniques: with a few small tricks you will be able to have a satisfying harvest, whether on the ground (or cultivating it in a vegetable garden or in a garden), or in a pot, to which well it adapts itself due to the rather reduced root system and that it does not need large spaces in depth.
Observing the specific characteristics of the plant it is opportune to immediately make an important premise for the correct implementation of the processing techniques: in fact, the garlic has a filiform and very superficial root system, easily damaged by rough soil working maneuvers. The advice is to pay particular attention to the manipulations of the substrate, which must be light and superficial, to avoid damaging the roots. It should also be remembered that the purpose of cultivation is the correct formation of the bulb, not of the superficial apparatus of the plant: therefore, in the case in which the formation of the flower is noticed, this will have to be cut as soon as possible, to avoid that the plant picks up nutrients from the bulb in order to develop the flower itself.
Soil and fertilization
As far as the soil is concerned, garlic is a plant that fears water stagnation, which could then lead to the development of dangerous fungal diseases: we therefore recommend a light, compact and well-drained soil.
The ideal climatic conditions are the temperate ones, even if the garlic is a plant that is well suited to almost extreme climatic situations, ranging from temperatures even below zero, to periods of intense heat and prolonged drought: in this regard It is good to remember that land cultivation does not generally require additional watering. For cultivation in pots instead, limited and constant watering is provided, just to avoid dangerous water stagnation. In any case, it is a good idea to stop watering when the bulbs start to ripen, or when the leaves begin to dry out and to bend, this being the period in which the plant is most subject to rotting.
Fertilization should not be excessive because it could be excessively aggressive for the bulb, favoring the development of rot. If you choose to use mineral fertilizers, administer Potassium and Phosphorus during the preparation of the soil and plan to give Nitrogen a couple of times during cultivation. If instead you opt for an organic fertilizer, interratelo with the plant at the beginning of cultivation, so that it is less aggressive and more prolonged release. However, privilege the crop rotation techniques, able to bring good fertility to the soil in an absolutely natural way.
The best time to start cultivating garlic is winter. Take a bulb and separate the segments: these will be buried individually, at a depth of about 4-7 cm and with the tip facing upwards. Leave some space between one slice and another, even 10 cm if the cultivation takes place in the open ground. Water lightly in the initial period and then take advantage of the advice above.
The harvest takes place in the summer period, between July and August, in accordance with the climatic variability of the area. Once collected, the bulbs will be cleaned from the earth and left to dry in the air, until they will separate easily from the rest of the plant and the leaves will not be completely dried.
Garlic cultivation: Main pathogens and parasites
Like all bulbous plants, this plant is particularly affected by root and bulbar rot: the latter in particular is due to a fungus, Aspergillus spp. which attacks the bulbs both in very humid and relatively dry environments. The fight is of a preventive type and takes place by controlling the humidity of the substrate, the environment in which the collected material is stored (in fact it can also attach the bulbs stored in the storage warehouses) and paying particular attention to the techniques of working the soil and handling avoid accidental injuries, vehicles of infection. Other infections are caused by downy mildew, rust and white mold, for which preventive control techniques are valid, while the main infestations are caused by the fly Delia antiqua.