Garlic is grown as a multipurpose crop in Kenya. It is commonly used as a flavouring additive in meaty relishes, sauces, soups and also as a medical remedy to treat flu, blood pressure. Garlic is not very popular in open vegetable markets but can be found in most reputable supermarkets. This guideline informs existing and potential growers of how best to grow garlic.

Cultivars of garlic:

There are two types of garlic grown in Kenya, hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck varieties (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon) bolt during early summer producing a tall, flower stalk. Bulbils, which are small aerial cloves, are produced at the tip of scapes in place of a true flower or scape.

There is considerable variability in the size and number of bulbils produced by hard neck garlic varieties. Bulbils may be used as planting stock, but require 2 or more years of growth to develop into marketable bulbs.

Soft neck varieties (A. sativum var sativum) do not produce a scape. Hard neck varieties are more winter-hardy, and produce larger cloves but have a shorter storage life than soft neck varieties.

Climatic Requirements for garlic farming:

Garlic thrives well under fairly cool to warm temperature conditions. The most ideal growth temperature for garlic is 13 to 24ยฐC. The plants are also influenced by day length but to a lesser extent than temperature. Long days and high temperatures during the growing season encourage bulb formation. Early cultivars are more likely to react to changes in temperature than late cultivars.

Garlic is one crop which requires relatively high levels of soil moisture throughout the growing period but over watering must be avoided. Any periods of dry soil conditions, especially during bulbing will result in yield reductions. In areas that have variable rainfall, it is advisable to irrigate the crop.

READ ALSO:   Profitability of Green Grams (Ndengu) farming

Land Preparation fore garlic farming:

Early land preparation should be done to avoid perennial weeds. Garlic is moderately tolerant of acidity and will grow in pH ranges from 5.5 to 6.8, the upper end of this range being preferable.

Planting garlic:

The recommended planting period in Zimbabwe is late summer, between February and May. At this time of the year, temperatures are not excessively high and soil moisture is still fairly high. Spacing between rows will depend on the method of planting and available equipment for cultivation. Single or multiple rows of plants are commonly used. However, the general recommendation for spacing is 8 to 15cm between plants and 30 to 40cm between rows. The cloves are planted to a depth of about 50mm on raised beds or on the flat.

Fertilisation requirements on garlic farming:

Garlic has relatively low nitrogen requirements compared with many vegetable crops. However, phosphorous and potassium are required in large quantities and, thus, should be generously applied. For seedbeds, apply Windmillโ€™s basal fertiliser Compound S (7:21:7 9S 0.04B) at the rate of 45g/mยฒ. After 2 to 3 weeks of emergence, apply Ammonium Nitrate (34.5% N) as top dressing at the rate of 35g/mยฒ.

For lands, apply Windmillโ€™s basal fertiliser of Compound C (5:15:12 11S.01B) fertiliser at the rate of 600kg/ha. Apply Ammonium Nitrate (34.5% N) at the rate of 100kg/ha after 4 to 6 weeks after transplanting.

Garlic Irrigation:

Garlic can be successfully grown using furrow, sprinkler, or drip irrigation. Garlic has a relatively shallow root system and it is, therefore, sensitive to moisture stress throughout the growing season. The quantity of water that should be applied depends on the weather and the soil conditions. Furthermore, there will be increased water demand during hot, dry weather conditions.

READ ALSO:   Understanding Mealybugs; A Pest Causing Havoc To Crops In Kenya

Where the conditions like this prevail, mulching is recommended to reduce the rate of moisture loss from the soil surface. The frequency and the rate of irrigation can also be determined by using the moisture determining devices such as neutron probe around the field. The preferred time of irrigation is morning to mid-afternoon, thus, allowing sufficient time for the plant foliage to dry before nightfall. As garlic matures, irrigation should cease. This increases harvesting ease and reduces potential deterioration and staining of exterior bulb sheath leaves.

Weed Control on a garlic farm:

The following herbicides are recommended for weed control in garlic: Ronstar Flo and Oxyfluorfen 240 EC. These are recommended for pre-emergent control of broadleaf weeds and some annual grasses.

Garlic Pest Control:

Below is a table of common pests and product remedies:

Pest ProblemProduct Remedy
CutwormDecis 2.5 EC, Thionex 50 WP, or Carbaryl 85 WP
ThripsDisyston 5G, Malathion 25 WP, or Thionex 50 WP

Garlic Disease Control:

Below is a table of common diseases in garlic and recommended product remedies:

Disease ProblemProduct Remedy
Alternaria (Purple blotch)Dithane M 45, or Orius 250 EW/Folicur
Downy mildewDithane M 45, or Ridomil MZ 72 WP
White rotQuintozine 75 WP, or Allisan 50 WP, or Sclerotinia Allisan 50 WP


READ ALSO:   Basic skills to successful garlic farming in Kenya

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!