In the article on what to grow in December we also mentioned garlic.
But what does this plant need?
What are the most suitable cultivation techniques?
In this article we will tell you about how to grow garlic.
The garlic (Allium sativum, L. 1758)
Garlic is a plant that belongs to the same family as the onion and asparagus. It comes cultivated for millennia of the Mediterranean countries, since the Greeks and Romans (even if they were forbidden to enter the temples to those who had eaten garlic). Concentrated garlic juice is also an excellent disinfectant, so much so that it was used by the French army during the First World War.
For the uninitiated, garlic is one perennial plant but in the colder climates it is produced as an annual plant because it is unable to flower (and therefore to reproduce by seed).
The PAU (useful agricultural product) is the bulb, in turn composed of 8-12 cloves (commonly called cloves) compressed together and wrapped in modified leaves (called tunics) which have a consistency similar to that of paper. The tunics can be white or red, depending on the variety. Her roots they are numerous but do not develop much, they remain rather superficial. The stem it develops a few centimeters above the bulb and the leaves are elongated.
To know how to grow garlic, it is essential to also know its needs. Garlic prefers temperate and dry climates. The more rustic varieties also grow well in the mountains, but if it is grown in seaside areas, a sweeter product with a less pungent aroma is obtained.
Garlic germinates normally at one temperature of 12-15 ° C, with a minimum of 5 ° C. The speed of growth depends above all on the environmental temperature, in fact, during the winter, the plant does not suffer damage but stops its growth and then resumes vigorously in early spring.
For what concern ground, garlic wants soils that allow it to grow better underground. These soils are loose ones, with sand, of medium texture and above all permeable. In fact, garlic does not tolerate water stagnation and therefore clay must be present in very small quantities. The pH instead it must never be less than 7.
How to grow garlic
The land intended for growing garlic must be worked on one depth 30-40 cm maximum, having the foresight to chop up the clods of soil through an excellent harrowing.
For sowing, they must choose the best cloves, more beautiful and firmer. The cloves are placed at a depth of 4-5 cm with the point pointing upwards.
The most important thing is do not grow garlic in the same land as the previous year. In fact, garlic is a depleting plant and there is also a risk of the spread of parasites and diseases that could remain in the soil
During its growth, garlic does not require many cultivation interventions. It is good to operate with weeding from time to time, in order to eliminate the weeds, and possibly also a tamping. Garlic is a plant that also responds well to mulching.
As for the fertilization, the average quantities of nutritional elements for each kilo of garlic are: 4.5 g of Nitrogen, 1.5 g of Phosphorus (P2OR5), 2.5 g of potassium (K.2OR). If you want to get larger bulbs, you can resort to a moderate fertigation with humic acids.
Collection and conservation
After having clarified how to grow garlic, now is the time to move on to harvesting and storing. Harvesting usually takes place when the leaves are yellowed and mostly dry. It is often used to twist and knot the stems during the last stages of cultivation, thus thinking of accelerating ripening. This practice, on the other hand, is to be absolutely avoided because, on the contrary, it stops the vegetation and consequently the development of the bulb.
The best method for preserve the garlic it is also the most common, namely drying. Once harvested, the plants are dried in the sun and then stored in a dark, airy and cool place at a temperature of about 10 ° C.
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Aglione della Valdichiana: sowing and cultivation
Aglione from the Val di Chiana is a truly very interesting crop, which deserves to be better known, not so much for the surprising size of the cloves, but for the organoleptic and nutritional qualities.
It is a vegetable that appears very similar to classic garlic, although much larger in size. However, it should be noted that it is a genetically distinct species: it is not just a giant garlic. but it has different characteristics also in flavor and above all in digestibility.
This crop, peculiar to Tuscany, is mainly known for the pici with garlic, a first course of the local tradition where fresh pasta is accompanied by a sauce based on this vegetable.
So let's discover the aglion plant and its cultivation, which is very simple, starting from how to plant its giant cloves, work to do between October and November to have this elephant garlic in the garden.
The ideal climate and soil for growing pumpkin
The pumpkin fears frost, requires warm-temperate climate. The optimal temperature for its development is around 18-24 ° C. Above 30 ° C or below 10 ° C there are serious disturbances.
The pumpkin it adapts to any type of terrain, but the best results are recorded on those of medium texture, soft, rich in organic substance and well drained. The optimal pH is between 5.5 and 6.8.
Tricks for assessing maturity
One of the first signs of maturity is the desiccation of the leaves. Yellowing starts from the apex to expand downwards. The different experiences lead us to recommend waiting for the drying to touch 30 to 60% of the total foliage. Some even suggest waiting until there are only two or three green basal leaves before proceeding.
In reality this method is not very reliable because these stages can depend on external factors: climate, soil quality, variety.
A more reliable method is to sample three or four heads at different points in the plot. We will cut them transversely and we will count the skins that surround them: the ideal moment of harvesting is when, on average, the three outermost ones are still green.
How to grow leeks
Growing leeks is quite simple, especially if we consider the ability of this vegetable to resist to different climatic conditions. Depending on the variety and the crop cycle chosen, it adapts well to both the warm-temperate climate and the cold-temperate one.
The choice of period, direct sowing or transplanting?
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When we decide to grow leeks, we must understand the timing of direct sowing or transplanting the seedlings.
The leek seed has a fairly long germination time. It takes about two months from sowing in seedbeds to the formation of a young seedling ready for transplantation. This will also affect the harvest time, which can be summer, autumn or winter.
To harvest in the summer we must sow in a heated seedbed in the months of December-January, in order to transplant into the garden in March-April.
For the autumn harvest it is sown in seedbeds in early spring.
Finally, to have a winter harvest, the sowing time is in the months of May-June.
The sowing, therefore, they can be scaled from December to June.
This long time often leads the farmer to buy seedlings already formed in the nursery. Generally they are chosen with a length of 20-25 cm, in order to proceed directly to the transplant.
Soil and fertilization
The ground more suitable for growing leeks is that of medium texture, sufficiently fresh and with good drainage capacity. Fertilization can be done a month before the planned transplant, adding very mature manure to the soil. Fertilization with fresh manure is to be avoided. Alternatively, the result of the home composting.
Distances for transplanting and irrigation
Growing leeks requires compliance with short distances. Between one plant and another on the row there must be 15-20 cm. Between one row and another, however, the distance increases to 30-40 cm.
Irrigation, to be carried out preferably with drip plant, is necessary, especially for growing leeks in spring and summer. Clearly, in the autumn and winter months, the need for water is considerably reduced.
Growing leeks requires a medium-long cycle during which certain crop care is required.
For example, at a certain point it will be necessary to carry out a weeding, aimed at eliminating weeds. This is followed by a first tamping, an operation necessary for bleaching the stem. A further tamping will be carried out about a month before the expected harvest. The tucked earth, as we have seen for another important cultivar, that of fennel, avoids subsequent weeding. It also facilitates the enlargement of the stem and makes it white, tender and tasty (bleaching).
Collection and use
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The leek is harvested in a gradual manner, gradually grubbing up the seedlings, according to one's needs. Leeks can be eaten raw, but also boiled and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, chili pepper and salt.
These are the simplest methods of use. Of course there are many delicious ones recipes with leeks, and still others you can invent them with a little imagination.
Biological defense against parasites
Unfortunately, if you decide to grow leeks, you should know that some pests will probably threaten our plants. The most fearful is certainly the nematode of bulbs and stems Ditylenchus dipsaci, which we have talked about extensively in the past. If the presence of this parasite is found, before proceeding to any new cultivation it is advisable to carry out a green manure of brassicas.
Other animal parasites fearful for ours leek crop I am the leek moth (Acrolepia assectella) and the onion fly (Hylemia antiqua). For these insects it is possible to intervene with biological treatments based on bacillus thuringiensis, when insects are found in the larval stages.
At the level of cryptogamic diseases it is necessary to keep thepowdery mildew and the downy mildew of the leek (Phitophtora leeks). In addition to treatments based on macerated nettle is sodium bicarbonate, if the attack of the disease is in an advanced stage, it is possible to intervene by topping the plant at the base. The plant, in fact, has the ability to regenerate, even if this will take a certain period of time.
Given the plant's considerable temperature requirements, sowing should be done when the minimum temperatures do not drop below 10 ° C. For example, in the Po Valley this generally occurs in the second half of April.
The dwarf varieties are sown at a distance of 50-60 cm between the rows and 6-7 cm on the row for single seeds, or at 30 cm for postarelle of 3-4 seeds.
Climbing varieties are sown at 60-120 cm between the rows, while the same procedures applied to the dwarf varieties apply to the row.
The quantity of seed needed varies from 1 to 2 kg per 100 m2 for dwarf varieties and about half for climbing ones.
The seed should be placed at a depth of 4-5 cm and perfectly covered.
The dwarf varieties can also be sown gradually until the end of August for the autumn harvest of croissants you hate Beans to be shelled, but in this case they will need several irrigations.
How to grow wild garlic
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum L.) is a perennial bulbous herbaceous species. It is a species that can be found in our woods, sometimes in often massive and dense populations and it is also possible to grow it in pots or in the garden.
In this guide we will explain how to grow wild garlic, the useful tricks and the most appropriate agronomic techniques.
Wild garlic is a plant that has a wide climatic adaptability, even if you need to know some essential aspects and can also be grown in pots on terraces or balconies.
The most suitable period for planting this garlic is from November to March. When choosing the cloves, care must be taken to make a preliminary selection, choosing the largest ones and allocating the smaller ones for further enlargement, planting them even more closely in a special area.
Once the bulbils have been selected, they must be kept in a sunny place and planted in a soil that has good drainage. Even if this species prefers humid soils, stagnation can cause frequent rot to the bulbs. The most suitable soils are loose ones (with a high percentage of sand), well endowed with organic substance (to be applied at the end of winter before implantation) and not very sunny.
The minimum temperature must not drop below 15-20 ° C so, in certain climatic conditions, it is advisable to plant in early spring. Of course, conditions in an apartment can be under your control.
An important precaution to obtain good quality food bulbs is to prevent the plant from flowering because the flowers would absorb most of the nutrients contained in the bulbils. For this reason, the flower stems must be cut shortly before they produce buds. If, of course, the goal is decorative in nature, change the technique completely and you will realize that by letting the flowers bloom, they also have a beautiful decorative aspect. Remember that the flowering period is between April and May.
As for the harvest time, you have to adjust by observing the leaves of the plant. When these are completely dry it is possible to proceed with the collection of the bulbs, gently grubbing up the plant and leaving it to dry outdoors for about a week. The period coincides with late summer.
After this period, the bulbs will be cleaned, depriving them of the outer skins, roots and foliage. Normally it is advisable to create braids that are very similar to those we find in greengrocers. However, it is important never to store the bulbs in any other way, such as in plastic bags or airtight containers.
Irrigation must be carried out until late spring, only if the weather conditions are poor. In pot, obviously, it must be done whenever the first layers begin to dry up.
As for adversity, in addition to root rot, which can be avoided very well with a good choice of substrate, Ramson, like other plants of its genus, is very resistant to insect attacks. Indeed the advice is associate it with other vegetable species to help them keep away especially aphids and scale insects.
The dried plants and pods are discarded, burned or left to rot in a place in the garden prepared for compost, the seeds appropriately chosen are enclosed in a container full to the brim and hermetically sealed, they can then be consumed after being left to soak for one night or destined for a new sowing.
Some fungi that can cause disease are:
- Ascochyta rabiei also called chickpea rage
- Uromyces cineris-arietini
- Fusariosis (Fusarium orthoceras)
Insects harmful to chickpeas are:
- Liriomyza cicerina
- Callosobruchus ornatus
- Callosobruchus chinensis
- Phytomiza atricornis
- Heliothis armigera (night puncher)