Growing Garlic Commercially – Complete Growing Guide for Garlic from Start to Finish

growing garlic commercially


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Growing garlic outdoors –if done rationally and on a scalable basis- can be a good source of income for a farmer. In a few words, garlic is a perennial plant, but growers usually treat it as an annual. Most commercial garlic growers start the crop from cloves. Before planting the garlic cloves, they prepare the field. They till the land and make raised beds or furrows (usually in poorly drained soils). The climate is the main restrictive factor when growing garlic. The plant comes from temperate climates and is generally relatively sensitive to extremely low or high temperatures and frost. Most varieties require, on average, temperatures from 10 to 25°C (50 to 77 °F) to grow and yield. Extremely high temperatures during the bulb growth period will inhibit clove development, making it nearly impossible for stressed plants to recover and produce a satisfactory yield. It is crucial to know that, on average, every garlic needs over 12 hours of sunlight exposure daily in order to develop well-shaped cloves. In addition, the plants need to be exposed to temperatures lower than 10°C (50°F) for successful clove development, while during the clove growing stage, temperatures should be close to 20°C (68°F). 

Garlic growers often place a black plastic film through the rows in extremely cold weather conditions. The black plastic film helps the soil warm up and is an efficient weed control measure. When they are ready to plant, they make small holes in the plastic film and manually or mechanically plant the cloves. Garlic has a relatively high demand for nutrients, and fertilization is usually needed. Drip Irrigation and Weed Management are applied in most cases to help the plants maximize their productivity. Most commercial garlic varieties can be harvested 3-8 months after planting. The time from planting to harvesting depends on the variety and climate conditions. Harvesting can be performed by hand or mechanically with harvesters. After harvesting, garlic must be cured (dry out) before it can be stored or sold. Growers usually transfer the garlic bulbs to special drying areas under controlled temperatures, humidity conditions, and with good air circulation. They then plow and destroy the remaining crop. The garlic bulbs can be stored for up to 5-7 months if placed at 0-1 °C (32-34 °F) and a maximum of 60-70% RH (to avoid rotting), with good aeration and lack of light.

Further reading:

Garlic Plant information and Variety selection

General information and nutritional value of Garlic

Growing garlic in your backyard

Growing Garlic Commercially – Complete Growing Guide for Garlic from Start to Finish

Soil Requirements, Soil Preparation, and Planting of Garlic

Garlic Water Requirements and Irrigation Systems

Garlic Fertilization Requirements

Garlic Pests and Diseases

Garlic Weed Management

Garlic Harvest Yield and Storage



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