Garlic Farming – Introduction
Spice crop cultivation has been done since ages. Spices are an integral part of the food and they have been used probably ever since man learned to cook his own food. Today, however, spice crop is a booming business and the demand is ever growing.
Garlic is a very important spice crop among other spices. The use of garlic as a spice can be traced centuries back. But that is not the only purpose for which it was used. Garlic has been used extensively in ancient medicine as well. It has some medicinal properties and nutritional value as well which has positive effects on the human body. Even today the extract of garlic is used for treating certain medical conditions. Garlic is used as a tempering and seasoning agent for cooking many dishes. It is a chief ingredient for the preparation of spicy sauce and chutneys. The distinct aroma and flavor of garlic are what makes it unique from other spice crops. For commercial purposes, cultivation of garlic on a large scale gives better results. Proper farming technique and proper maintenance of the crop can definitely give better results which leads to a better income.
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Scientific Name of Garlic: Allium sativum
Top Countries Producing Garlic
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Name of Garlic in Different Languages
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Different Varieties Of Garlic Cultivated
According to subvarieties of the genus name, Allium, there are two varieties of garlic:
The soft neck garlic is the most common and abundant variety of garlic found in the market and the grocery stores. As the name suggests, the garlic has a softer neck and has several layers of garlic cloves which surround an inner portion. A thin papery white sheath covers all the layers from outside. There are multiple sheath layers actually.
Like the name suggests, the hard neck garlic has a firm stalk like protrusion out of the bulb. The thin and green extension holds many tiny garlic cloves inside. While cultivation, the scapes or the green expansion is cut off so that the plants can produce larger bulbs. The scapes are also used in cooking.
According To The Varieties:
The creole garlic contains a combination of the properties of both the hardneck and soft neck This type of garlic looks and tastes good as well. The taste is strong like other garlic varieties but is not pungent. Rather, the taste has a somewhat sweeter edge to it.
Artichoke garlic is a variety of soft neck This kind of garlic has larger clove size and has a mild flavor. This garlic can be stored for as long as eight months. This is the most common type of garlic used by people.
A variety of hardneck garlic, the rocambole garlic has a strong and rich flavor. The color of the cloves is a little brownish with purple colored stripes unlike the white color of normal garlic. The sheath covering the cloves is very thin. This garlic is a favorite among people due to its unique flavor.
This is a type of softneck This variety of garlic is best grown for its storage properties. It can be stored for over a year under the proper storage conditions. It is also a favorite among farmers and gardeners as it is easy to grow too. The skin of the garlic cloves is soft is nature and the taste is quite strong.
Purple Stripe Garlic
This variety of garlic is mostly used for baking As the name suggests, the garlic has purple streaks in the skin of the bulb. The taste of the garlic is mild yet flavourful. This type of garlic belongs to the hardneck variety.
The porcelain garlic is usually cultivated in the colder regions. The garlic cloves are very large and each bulb contains about four garlic cloves in it. The cloves are covered by a thin and smooth garlic sheath. They have a strong taste and the cloves can be stored for long too.
These are the basic types of garlic. Apart from these, there are several high yielding varieties of garlic available in the market. The garlic variety must be chosen according to the region where it is to be grown.
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Cultivation Of Garlic
To get the best quality and yield of garlic farming, it is important that the proper varieties are chosen according to the region of cultivation. Use of proper implements and proper knowledge will always result in a better yield.
Soil Conditions For Garlic Farming
Usually, silt soil or clay loam soils are used for the cultivation of garlic. In general, the garlic can adapt itself to a wide variety of soils. The fertility of the soil matters. The soil must have a good percentage of organic matter. The soil also must be well drained and able to retain moisture for the garlic crops. The ph of the soil must not be extreme. It must be closer to the neutral value. Soils having such properties are desirable for the cultivation of garlic.
Climatic Conditions For Garlic Farming
Garlic requires a cool temperature to survive. Extreme temperatures such as too hot or too cold temperature are detrimental to the growth of garlic plants. Garlic is best grown in plain areas. However, with proper management, it can also be cultivated at higher altitudes. The garlic plant cannot tolerate frost. Hence, while cultivating, frost must be avoided. A moderate annual rainfall is good for the growth of garlic plants.
Land Preparation For Garlic Farming
The land must be freshly prepared for garlic cultivation. Rocks, weeds and any other unwanted material from previous cultivation have to be removed from the site. The soil has to be thoroughly ploughed to get a fine texture. The ploughing must be followed by tilling and harrowing. After the last plough, well-decomposed farmyard manure has to be mixed with the topsoil. In case of excess rainfall, proper drainage channels have to be made in the field. Proper furrows and ridges have to be made in the main field for planting.
Propagation Method And Planting Season For Garlic Farming
The garlic is propagated through the cloves of the garlic bulb. Garlic is planted two times a year. One of the planting seasons is in the autumn season right after the monsoon. The second season for planting is the spring season that is from February to March.
Planting Method For Garlic Farming
The garlic cloves are sown in the field for planting. For planting, healthy and disease free cloves should be selected. 150-200kg of garlic cloves is sufficient for planting in one hectare of the field. The cloves are sown in the field by dibbling or furrow planting method. Dibbling, the cloves are 5-7cm deep inside the soil. the end of the clove where the growth is initiated is kept at the upper side of the soil.
In case of furrow planting, furrows are made in the field with cotton drilling or hand hoeing. In such a method, the cloves are covered with soil lightly in the field. Before sowing the cloves in the field, seed treatment with bio-fertilizers or appropriate chemicals is essential for healthy growth into seedlings.
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Spacing And Seed Rate For Garlic Farming
The spacing in garlic cultivation varies for methods which are used for cultivation. An average spacing of 10cm is required to be given in the garlic crop. The average seed rate is 500-600 kg per hectare of the field.
Irrigation Method For Garlic Farming
Garlic can both be cultivated under rainfed as well as irrigated conditions. Under irrigated conditions, the water is less required. In any case, alight irrigation must be provided right after planting the cloves. After that, irrigation is provided as per requirement. Since the crop is planted after monsoon; the soil provides enough moisture for the cops to grow well. In case of dry conditions, the soil must be watered at regular intervals. For the entire growth period of garlic, there must not be a scarcity of moisture. The garlic bulbs do not develop well if grown in inadequate moisture conditions. A light irrigation is required 3-4 days before harvesting the crop. Irrigation at the time of bulb production is also essential. Also, over irrigation in garlic crop is not desirable and often produces irreversible side effects.
Nutrition Management For Garlic Farming
The appropriate quantities of farmyard manure are essential at the time of land preparation. After that, the proper quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium must be provided based on the need. The best method is to do a soil test and find out the nutrient requirement of the soil. Based on that, the nutrients must be provided to the soil. Along with the macronutrients, micronutrients are also essential for proper growth and development of garlic bulbs.
Intercultural Methods For Garlic Farming
Weed removal is an important method in garlic cultivation as the garlic plants are not sensitive to weed growth and competing for nutrients with other plants. Weeding and hoeing in garlic cultivation must be done once in a month. After each intercultural method, earthing up should be done. Hand weeding or application of herbicides is required to get rid of the weeds.
Mulching the crops with leaves, hay or grass not only conserves moisture in the soil but also protects the plants from the harshness of extreme weather. It also protects from frost.
Disease And Pest Control Of Garlic Farming
The most common diseases and pests affecting garlic plant and their control measures are as follows:
- Grubs- ploughing in summer and application of biofertilizers
- Leaf spot- Dithane spray
- Blight- agnihotra ash spray
- Thrips- neem oil or foliar spray of appropriate chemicals.
In case of soil-borne diseases, application of fertilizers and chemicals at the time of sowing might help to prevent such incidences.
Yield Of Garlic
With proper management and cultivation techniques, an average yield of 10-15 tonnes of garlic per hectare can be expected.
The garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves start to turn brownish yellow and the plants start to dry up. The garlic crop is ready to harvest in about five months. The plants are carefully uprooted either manually or by a country plough.
Post-Harvest Management And Marketing Of Garlic
The garlic after harvesting is dried for a few days so that the bulbs become hard. They are further cured and stored under proper conditions. Under appropriate conditions, garlic can be stored as long as six to eight months.
The garlic bulbs are sorted and packed in proper packaging material for selling them in the market. Garlic can be sold easily as it has a ready market.
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Benefits Of Garlic
- Garlic is very commonly used for colds and flu. It gives improved results and improves health during sickness.
- Garlic is rich in Vitamin-C. It is the reason why it provides better immunity against diseases and protects the body from illness.
- Garlic is said to keep the blood pressure in the body at normal levels thus preventing heart attack and other heart issues.
- Garlic can help to improve the cholesterol levels in the blood. It increases the amount of good cholesterol in the body and decreases the bad cholesterol.
- Garlic might help to improve bone health and prevent certain bone related issues.
Garlic Farming – Conclusion
Cultivation of garlic can be very profitable if done the right way. Garlic as a spice crop and for medicinal purposes has a very high demand in the local and the international market. Therefore it is important that to get the proper yield, one must have proper knowledge of garlic cultivation.
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