Fall is sneaking up on us quickly, which means it’s time to get digging in the garden to plant your garlic!
The aromatic garlic is the perfect addition to every meal, but it also comes packed with tons of nutrients and a variety of medicinal properties.
Garlic is rich in important nutrients, such as flavonoids, oligosaccharides, amino acids, allicin and high levels of sulfur, while raw garlic also contains approximately 0.1 percent essential oil. Some of the main components of this oil include allyl propyl disulfide, diallyl disulfide, and diallyl trisulfide. A clove (approximately three grams) of raw garlic contains about:
- 4.5 calories
- 1 gram carbohydrates
- 0.2 gram protein
- gram fiber
- milligram manganese (3 percent DV)
- 0.9 milligram vitamin C (2 percent DV)
- 5.4 milligrams calcium (1 percent DV)
- 0.4 microgram selenium (1 percent DV)
Garlic is rich in antibacterial and antiviral compounds that prevent common colds and flu. Moreover, it is one of the most powerful heart-healthy foods. It regulates blood pressure, lowers high cholesterol levels, and keeps the arteries clean, preventing atherosclerosis.
Research has shown that garlic lowers fasting blood glucose, so it is beneficial in the case of type II diabetes.
Additionally, it contains antioxidants that may prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, boosts athletic performance, and the sulfur compounds in garlic protect against organ damage from heavy metal toxicity.
According to a review published in Cancer Prevention Research, Allium vegetables, especially garlic and onions, and their bioactive sulfur compounds have effects at each stage of cancer formation and affect many biological processes that modify cancer risk.
That is why it has been used for centuries, and if you decide to grow it at home, you will reap all its benefits whenever you want.
Yet, don’t be afraid, as garlic is very easy to plant and grow. It can be planted in fall or spring, and it does well in cold climates and areas where water does not collect at the bottom of the soil, to prevent rot and disease infestation. Additionally, the small garlic plants take little space in the garden.
To boost the yield, plant it in a fertile, well-drained, and moist soil with a pH of 6.5-7, and you can set out a bed or plant it directly in the garden.
Make sure it is away from sage, peas, parsley, and asparagus, as they compete with it for nutrients. On the other hand, carrots, potatoes, spinach, and eggplants are great companion plants for it.
Follow these steps to grow garlic at home:
- Choose a sunny spot in the garden, and rid of stones and dirt from the topsoil
- Make a compost tea mixed with a few tablespoons of 5-10-10 NPK fertilizer and work it nicely into the soil
- Break a garlic up into cloves, and bury it with the pointed ends facing upward, a few inches into the ground
- Leave 4-6 inches space between the cloves, and the rows of beds can be spaced by 2-3 inches
- Cover with about 1-2 inches of clear soil and put down 5-6 inches of mulch materials
- Carefully water only when the topsoil is completely dry
- Twice a month, add a teaspoon of low-decomposing compost, and a high-nitrogen fertilizer once monthly
- To prevent its slow growth, cut off any flowers or weed stalks that bloom with the plants
- In about three months, you should have 5 to 6 leaves sprouted already, ready to be harvested and enjoyed!