Onions and Garlic

Garlic and perennial onions belong to the alliums family with similar growing and storage requirements. With the right conditions both are very productive crops, with harvests three to eight times greater by weight than the amount planted. With the right care these alliums are self-sustaining, they are particularly appropriate if you are interested in permaculture, perennial crops. At Horticentre we sell a wide range of Onion and garlic crops of the best quality.

 

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How to plant onions in your garden

One of the most popular crops for the gardener are onions!  Whether you have a big farm or just a tiny vegetable garden at home, onions are so versatile and can be used for a variety of different puposes. Make sure you have a section of your garden that is sunny and not shaded by other plants. Onions will thrive in fertile and well-drained soil and love a quality organic nitrogen rich fertilizer applied during planting.

Plant onion sets four to five inches apart in rows 12-18 inches apart and no more than one inch below the soil. Once planted, onions typically develop into full-sized bulbs after three to four months.

 

What difference is there in garlic bulbs

Garlic bulbs are mainly devided in two types: Hard necked and soft necked garlic, at Horticentre we sell both kinds here in our webshop and in our gardencenter in Overton.

Hard necked garlic: (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon) produce scapes (hard-stemmed flower stalks that bear aerial bulbils) and have a variety of complex flavours. They have fewer and larger cloves, which makes for easier peeling, but they do not store as well as soft-necked varieties. Hard-necked garlics generally prefer the cold winters and long, cool springs of more northern climates and do well in English soil.

 

Soft necked garlic: (Allium sativum var. sativum) store well and generally do not produce flower stalks. Soft necks can be braided. Soft necks are well-adapted to the more temperate climate of the South and, because they do not bolt easily, can flourish through erratic temperatures. The three main types of soft necks are as follows:

  • Silverskins are the type most often found on supermarket shelves due to their very long storage life. Having 15–20 cloves per bulb, usually in 5 layers, and because they do well in a wide range of climates, from hot to colder climates.

  • Asiatics and Creoles are generally classified as weakly bolting soft necks that are well suited for mild winter areas and are generally the first garlic to be harvested each year. These bulbs mature quickly in their final weeks, so make sure to harvest before the heads become overmature and start splitting.

  • Artichokes are very vigilant and large-bulbed with a lot of cloves. Plants are shorter than hard-neck varieties with spreading rather than upright leaves. The leaves are wider than any other variety and a deeper green than most. Inchelium Red and Italian Softneck are popular artichoke-types.

 

What can you do to best prepare your soil for onion and garlic bulbs?

Garlic and perennial onions will grow in almost any type of soil, but your harvest will be much better if you pay close attention to soil structure. The roots need air as much as they need water. These bulbs do best in a well-drained, sandy loam. But when you have heavy clay or loose, sandy soil, the most important thing is to add lots of organic matter. You can work in compost, aged manure or peat moss. Growing and incorporating an appropriate soil cover crop before planting adds lots of organic, nourishing material. All of these methods will improve your soil and grow even better crops.

Planting in Raised Beds: Raised beds are perfect for garlic and onions. The size doesn’t matter as long as you can work the beds without walking in them. It is important that the soil be well prepared to a depth of at least 8 inch, preferably 12 inch. Beds can be framed with logs, lumber, or concrete blocks for instance.

 

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