We have always had such pleasure in growing our own vegetables and so growing certified-organic garlic is a very satisfactory natural extension for us. Garlic is relatively simple to grow in your own garden if you feel inspired to have a go. There is nothing like eating food you have grown yourself. We recommend a couple of websites full of great information for you to start.
How to Grow Garlic
For Victoria and depending on the variety of your garlic, it is generally planted in April – early June and harvested in late November -December.
You can buy organic seed stock garlic from Freshwater Creek Organic Garlic to ensure it has not been grown with pesticides and herbicides or treated with a chemical to extend shelf life and stop it sprouting.
You are looking for a garlic bulb that is in good condition, is free from mould or rust or any other disease.
To plant, take a whole bulb and break carefully into cloves.
Select the fattest biggest cloves and plant with the pointy side up, with the top of the bulb just below the surface, 15 cm apart.
Mulch well and keep weed free.
Depending on your rainfall over winter and into spring, water as necessary.
Fertilise 2 or 3 times early in the growing cycle with an liquid fertiliser to develop a robust plant .
The garlic will shoot and grow the stem and leaves. The bulb swells underground later in Oct/Nov. Clove separation occurs last in Nov/Dec.
Garlic can be susceptible to mould and fungus, which will shorten its storage life or rot them through. For this reason it is important not to water your garlic for the last 1-2 weeks prior to harvest (and hope it does not rain too much).
The plant will be maturing when the leaves start dying back in late Nov-December. To check your garlics’ progress you can carefully dig down to expose the bulb for growth inspection and clove separation without disturbing the roots, then re cover with soil when finished.
Harvest when the clove separation has occurred (when you can see clove definition in the bulb) and a third or so of leaves have dried off and started to brown off. Carefully lift from underneath with a garden fork and pull by the stem. Gently brush off the soil and debris.
Garlic left in the ground too long tends to split, allowing soil, moisture and potential disease to get into the cloves.
To cure your garlic, hang in loose bunches in an airy place out of the sun. Curing can take 4-6 weeks for the papers to dry on the outside of the bulb, sealing in each clove. Of course your garlic can also be used “green” so you don’t have to wait!
To braid, leave the garlic to hang for two weeks, then plait while the necks have not hardened off and then hang again for another couple of weeks. YouTube has many videos teaching you how to braid. Some we think are good are:
Having planted, nurtured, harvested and sampled your own garlic, there is always the joy of sharing your home grown garlic with friends.
You can hand over one magic bulb, or tie several into bunches with string or raffia. And if you are very inspired, you can try your hand at braiding. Very satisfactory and they all make sensational presents.
Storing Your Garlic
Our garlic is harvested in December and will keep through to August/September months when stored in the right conditions.
Hang in your kitchen or store in a basket with plenty of holes. Garlic needs to be kept in a light airy place. It needs to be dry and prefers well ventilated storage at room temperature.
*Don’t store in the dark the fridge or plastic bag or a sealed container as this will encourage mould or sprouting.
*Don’t store in direct sunlight.
Cooking with Garlic
Enjoy garlic every day in your kitchen – fresh, chopped, crushed, roasted whole, stir fried, baked, added to pasta or in your slow cooker. Add to your salads, serve with roast lamb or tofu, stuff baked fish with our garlic and lime leaves or spread especially thickly on garlic bread. Try adding to soups to bring out other flavours… you are only limited by your imagination! From subtle to pure garlic… take your pick. Here are some of our special recipes.
Subtle Garlic Puree
The longer you cook garlic, the subtler the flavour. If you want more of a punchy puree, only cook for 7 minutes. You can serve this puree with chicken breasts, as a sauce with full roast lamb, or with fresh sliced tomatoes on toast.
3 garlic bulbs, peeled
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper and perhaps a few drops of sherry vinegar
1 Place the peeled garlic in a small saucepan, and cover with the milk. Hold back 6 tbsp for pureeing later.
2 Simmer the garlic for 10 minutes, until it is just soft.
3 Add olive oil and salt and pepper.
4 Strain and reserve the milk.
5 Now, with a handheld blender, puree the garlic with 6 tbsp of milk. When smooth, check the seasoning.
So simple…even I can cook these.
whole garlic bulbs
1 Cut top 1/5 off the top of the garlic bulb and trim the base slightly so it will stay standing up.
2 Place the garlic standing up in a oven dish or tray. Add 2 or 3 (allow one per person) or fill the entire bottom.
3 Drizzle each garlic top with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
4 Add a lid or tin foil
5 Bake at 205°C for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
6 Serve a whole bulb per person – pull apart and just push out the garlic by squeezing each clove. Finger licking delicious.
Zesty Garlic & Lime Veggie Soup for those Cold Wintry Days
I always make a large quantity of this soup as it disappears so fast.
2 litres stock -whatever you have – homemade or bought
butter or coconut oil
2 large leeks/onions or both chopped
4 large potatoes chopped
6-8 carrots chopped
6 cloves garlic chopped
any other veggies you like
2 bay leaves
2 tins (equivalent) lentils or chick peas or butter beans
black pepper & salt
Tabasco or other chilli sauce
zest of 1 lemon
4 kafir lime leaves
4 crushed garlic cloves
coriander or flat leaf parsley
1 Bring to simmer 2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
2 Sauté in another large pan 1-2 finely cut large leek and/or 2 large onions in decent sized saucepan, using butter or coconut oil
3 Add chopped large potato x 4, carrot x 6-8, chopped garlic x 6, plus anything else you fancy or have in fridge or veggie garden.
4 Add 2 bay leaves
5 Sauté a little more
6 Add your preheated stock
7 Add cooked (or tinned) lentils or chick peas or butter beans or whichever legumes you like
8 Simmer ’til the veggies are cooked, then turn down the heat.
9 Adjust consistency with more water and season with black pepper and salt, if required. The soup should now be a chunky and rich tasting soup.
10 Add a of few drops Tabasco/chilli sauce to taste – not hot! Subtle is good!
11 Add finely chopped zest of 1 lemon
12 Add 4 whole kafir lime leaves
13 Simmer for 2 more mins
14 At the very last minute, add 4 cloves of crushed garlic and stir through…
15 Serve… Coriander or flat leaf parsley would be good
16 Serve with crusty bread ?
Lift Me Up – Garlic Tonic
Feeling a bit under the weather? Cold coming on? This warming zesty tonic is a great pick me up! The honey and ginger help counter the flavour of the garlic and make it very tasty.
Mix these fresh, raw ingredients with 1/2 cup warm water (not hot, as heating will decreases any beneficial compounds in the ingredients). The black pepper and coconut oil are recommended to help absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Drink up and eat all the lumpy bits too!
- 1 clove garlic – peeled & minced
- fresh ginger – peeled & minced * option
- piece fresh turmeric root – peeled & minced (1.5 – 3 g max.) or 1 teaspoon dried turmeric powder * option
- 1 teaspoon raw cold pressed honey (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch of fresh ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon coconut oil