Sustainable Organic Gardening

Pungent goodness – garlic

Garlic Red Rocambole

Red Rocambole garlic grows well in temperate regions

We have just had our first delivery of lovely organic garlic at Green Harvest this afternoon and we haven’t stopped talking about how to grow it! How to eat it! Best way to peel it! Garlic in olive oil, garlic in baked camembert! How to plant it! Is it really an allium or really a leek? We also made a pact when the garlic arrived, to all take some home and eat it the same nights so breathing remains easy at work.

Garlic Monaro Purple

Monaro Purple garlic grows well in temperate regions

You can either buy the bulbs to eat now or to plant in March through April if you are in a warmer climate. Planting after April will reduce the size of the bulbs. In cooler climates it can be planted in autumn or spring. But now is a great time to be preparing your beds for garlic if you are going to grow it – planting cloves too early and the heavens could fall and they may end up rotting. Garlic does best in light, well-drained soil and likes full sun. So once you decide on the right spot in the garden, you can improve the soil by adding compost or well-rotted animal manures before planting.

Magnificent organic elephant garlic

Elephant garlic can be grown in warmer regions such as South East Queensland

Different varieties vary in their suitability for different climate zones. In our region of south east Queensland, you can try ‘Glen Large‘ and, although not a true garlic but rather a leek, Elephant Garlic (growing information) should be given a go. In cooler areas ‘Italian White‘, ‘Red Rocambole‘ and ‘Purple Monaro‘ do extremely well. Separate the garlic bulb into cloves before planting. The tops of the bulbs should be just below the soil surface. The flatter or root end should be pointing down. Plant cloves about 10 cm apart, in rows about 40 cm apart.

Puy lentils and Garlic ingredients

Ingredients for Puy Lentils with garlic

Garlic’s uses are many and varied, it can be baked, boiled, sautéed and grilled. It is very nutritious, being high in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C. Although I haven’t tried it, apparently the young leaves and sprouts are considered a delicacy. Tonight I’m taking home some precious bulbs of Elephant Garlic (growing information) which I’m going to roast along with pumpkin and beetroot. That’ll be served with Puy lentils drizzled with preserved lemon dressing and topped with goats curd. Some crusty bread and a glass of shiraz and I can’t help thinking – life is good!

Puy lentils and garlic cooked

Puy lentils and garlic – just perfect with goat’s cheese and crusty bread

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Kitchen, Organic Gardening

11 Responses to “Pungent goodness – garlic”

  • Lissa says:

    I had a miserable result with the garlic I attempted to grow last season. I had Monaro Purple and Elephant Garlic from Green Harvest.

    The smaller MP, planted in the rich soil of the elevated beds, became heavily infested with aphids and never did give any return to speak of.

    The EG I had seperated in a grow bag. A few of them died off, the remainder gave me a small return after a very long period.

    Any suggestions? Did I choose the wrong varieties for our Brisbane climate?

    • Earthwise says:

      The best garlic for Brisbane is ‘Glen Large’ a day-length neutral garlic. The 2nd best is ‘Italian White’ which is grown commercially around Coff’s Harbour. ‘Monaro Purple’ is a lovely organic garlic to buy to eat but not recommended for planting north of Sydney. Elephant Garlic should do well in Queensland and is grown commercially around the Noosa – Cooroy area. All garlic has a long growing period, around 9 months so it may have needed longer? Our climate has been very difficult the last couple of years and garlic is a very ‘picky’ crop. This is one of the reasons it is so expensive, farmers cannot rely on getting a crop every year. I also think that garlic generally is unlikely to do well in a container.

    • Earthwise says:

      Unfortunately Monaro Purple is a cool climate garlic and very unlikely to well in Brisbane, the winter is just not cold enough. Either Glen Large or Southern Glen would be a better choice. Elephant garlic should do fine but growing it a bag may have caused problems with nutrition or watering. Elephant garlic is another name for Giant Russian garlic which is grown successfully as a commercial crop on the Sunshine coast.

  • Darrian says:

    Hello. Have another go. Get some of the Glen Large. I’ve had a crack at it the last two years and have had good success. It’s probably my favourite thing to grow because of it going well in comparison to other failures! Mind you, when we’ve had those long bouts of rain, I’ll tend to stick a bit of clear plastic over arching canes so they don’t get too soaked for too long. I’m at Karana Downs (Brisbane) and grow them in raised garden beds. Regards, Darrian

  • Bribie Dave says:

    Stick with it, I have been growing Glen Large here on Bribie Island, raised beds, added compost and sprinkle of Dynamic Lifter pellets. I also give a foliar feed of Seasol every 2 weeks, this may help with the aphid problem. Aphids like sappy plants, which happens when too much artificial fertiliser is applied. Mulch once the bulbs have shot and keep weed free. Adding compost tea is a nice gentle soil improver. I have had good results with this method.


  • VAL STOLK says:

    I live at Mackay in Queensland. Can anyone tell me if there is a reasonable garlic to grow here?

    • Earthwise says:

      The only one worth trying is Glen Large but it will depend on the season from year to year. Garlic really hates very wet conditions.

  • Kevin Spencer says:

    Hi Folks, I live on the Central Coast NSW. Have grown garlic for a few years with reasonable results. I have a mixed collection, This year I picked a fairly good crop, washed the bulbs and dried them off for over a week in a semi shaded position then stored them in my garden shed.
    The shed did get a bit hot at times, I don’t know if that was the problem, but at least 80% of my crop went rotten with quite a rank garlic smell about it.

    Any suggestions would be welcomed.
    Many thanks

  • Bribie Dave says:

    Hello Kevin,

    It is best not to wash garlic before storing. Leave the bulbs to dry out in an airy, shady spot, the soil will fall off when it dries out. Garlic stores best at around 12dC, so it probably got cooked in the shed, Store it inside in a cool spot and put in crisper of fridge a couple of weeks before planting out.


  • This is a fantastic post – your own garlic is so much tastier! I tend to plait mine and store in a dark, dry area. I wrote a complete guide to growing your own organic garlic over on my blog, check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *