Today I planted out our garlic, Allium sativum, for next year. We have three different varieties which are the wonderfully named (from left to right) Arno, Germidour and Sultop. To produce a good crop garlic needs a period of cold weather, 10C or less, and for this reason is planted in the autumn or winter dependent on the variety. It needs ample water during vegetative growth in spring and plenty of sunshine during the bulbing period in early summer. Well we had the cold winter, but the spring was dry and the early summer not sunny enough and therefore last year’s crop was a disaster. I am eternally optimistic about this year’s efforts. The soil is slowly improving which will help water retention and naturally we are going to have a blazing summer next year.
Garlic is apparently an aphrodisiac but for best results I would suggest that both parties partake. It was used medicinally by the Babylonians 3,000 years ago and also by the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks. There are countless health benefit claims including anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, the ability to lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure and even preventing some cancers. The list goes on and on. If only a small proportion are accurate this truly is a “super food”.
In the garden it is a good planting companion and will deter blackfly, boring beasts (!) and red spider mite. It is not a friend to quite everyone though, it should not be grown close to any of the legume family, as it will inhibit their growth. and of course Dracula isn’t too keen.