Garlic is a small plant with round bulb shape, white, related to the onion, shallots, and leeks plant that contains sulfur compounds which are believed to have several health benefits. It has a powerful smell and delicious taste. There are about ten-twenty cloves in a single bulb. The raw garlic consists of 59% water, 33% carbohydrates, 6% protein, 2% dietary fibre, less than 1% fat, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and other nutrients. In addition, it is used to add flavour to foods and as traditional medicine. It is assumed to be extracted in Siberia over 5000 years ago. Its binomial name is Allium Sativum.
Varieties and subspecies
Garlic has different variations and subspecies like hard neck and soft neck. Hardneck is grown in cold climates where softneck is grown in hot climates. Hardneck has relatively large cloves, includes porcelain, rocambole, and purple stripe garlic while softneck has small, tightly- packed cloves, includes artichoke garlic, silverskin, and creole garlic.
Along with this, this herb is a hardy plant that is why; several pests and diseases except pathogens do not affect it. Pathogen bacteria causes nematodes (roundworm) and wood-decay fungus. Nematodes and wood-decay fungus remain in the soil after the ground has been infected. Likewise, garlic may also suffer from pinkroot.
How to grow garlic?
The cultivation of garlic is very easy and simple and can be done even in your small kitchen garden. It can be grown once a year in mild climates while in colder climates cloves (dried flower buds) are planted in autumn, about six weeks before the soil freeze and harvested in late spring or early summer. Here are the things you should know before you plant it:
- The garlic cloves must be planted deep enough to prevent the freeze.
- If this herb is grown under right conditions then it typically takes nine months to mature. For best result, the plant should receive at least six hours of sun daily.
- This herb can grow in a small space even in the kitchen garden or kitchen itself.
Steps to Grow Garlic in your garden
- To grow garlic, first, a pot or container should be placed, and cloves should be deeper enough.
- If you want to grow green leaves then cloves can be put close together but if you intend to grow bulbs then the four-inch gap should be maintained, and drainage holes should be made at the bottom of the pot.
- Fill the container with organic soil mixture, and while planting cloves, flat end of the clove should be pointed down in the soil as that is where the roots grow.
- Once you have planted the bulbs, the pot should be near the window where it can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
- Watering should be done on a daily basis and fertilizing should be done twice a month with a general organic fertilizer.
- After one week, you will see fresh new shoots. You can start picking once they are four-six inches tall. An inch should be left on each clove to let garlic regrow again.
- If you want to harvest garlic bulbs, then it will take eight-nine months. The right time is when the leaves turn brown. At this point, you need to remove them from the soil and allow drying for a week.
- Your homegrown garlic is ready to be used in your cooking, and some can be used to regrow as well.
You can even grow garlic without soil. To grow garlic in water, a little bit of water should be added in a container just enough to cover the bottom of clove and placed under the windowsill. You can see scapes after few days. Let them grow until they are several inches tall, then cut from the top.
Sunny location and loose, dry, well-drained organic soil are very suitable for cultivating garlic. Similarly, for domestic storage, it is stored warm and dry while for commercial storage it is stored in a dry, low-humidity environment.
Health Benefits of garlic
This herb is used worldwide for its strong taste and smell for flavouring foods. The bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant for both consumption and medicinal purpose, but other parts like leaf and flower are edible. Garlic leaves are popular as a vegetable in many parts of Asia.
Several studies found that garlic consumption associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer, prostate cancer. Also, it is also used for several conditions related to heart and blood systems like high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow, and many more. Garlic also helps to improve sexual stamina. The sticky juice within the bulb cloves is used as a paste in mending glass or porcelain. It can also be used as a fish and meat protective at high temperature. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antibiotic, which effectively kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, yeasts, and moles and many more which causes serious diseases in humans. Garlic supplements help to prevent and reduce the severity of common illness like flu and the common cold. It also may improve physical performance in lab animals and people with heart disease.
As a religious use, in Europe, many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic. Central European folk’s beliefs considered it a powered ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires.
Potential health hazards of garlic
Garlic causes bad breath and body order. It and other species of allium also may cause allergies to some people. Some effects include gastrointestinal discomfort, sweating, dizziness, allergic reactions, bleeding, and menstrual irregularities. Likewise, if a higher dose of the herb is consumed with anticoagulant medications, then that causes a high risk of bleeding. Alliums might be toxic to cats and dogs as well.