Plant garlic in April in Melbourne
April and May are the months to plant garlic in Melbourne; the weather is cooling, there’s rain and our beds are prepared. See March hint for bed preparation .
If you have saved or bought Australian garlic that is rust free, the job is easy but if you have saved garlic previously affected by rust there is an extra step.
- Choose the day you want to plant your garlic cloves and only on that day pull the garlic head apart.
- Remove the large outer cloves – these will be the ones you plant – and save the inner ones for cooking. Separating them from the base plate any earlier, increases the possibility of infection entering the cloves.
- Using a dibber or a finger, make holes 15cm apart in rows also 15cm apart. Insert a clove per hole, base down and pointy top upward, backfill with soil so that there is 2-3cm coverage above the tip.
- Water well, mulch with sugar cane and in a few weeks, roots will be put down and tops will emerge. Continue to water regularly.
If you have had rust previously, soak the cloves for 12 hours in a solution of 1 litre of water, 2 teaspoons of seaweed extract (Seasol, Maxicrop etc) and 1 teaspoon of bicarb. Then peel the cloves, dunk them in vodka and plant as above in ground not used for garlic for the previous 3 years.
NB Our experiments have shown, as has Local Food Connect’s, that it is too late to plant garlic in June in Melbourne. The result is very small bulbs as the cloves do not have time to develop adequate roots and tops before the shortest day (June 22) after which bulb swell begins.
Written by Robin Gale-Baker