Aromatic plants

Garlic cultivation

Garlic, king of aromatic plants

Bulb known all over the world, but of Asian origin, garlic has been known since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians already knew its properties and the doctors of ancient Greece recommended it to treat digestive disorders, leprosy and wounds in general, a solution that even soldiers were forced to use during the world war, when they had no medicines to treat. the wounded: garlic was the best antibacterial and antifungal available. In the Middle Ages, doctors used masks soaked in garlic juice to protect themselves from infections. The substance contained in the bulb that determines the characteristic odor, but also the effectiveness of the vegetable, is allicin. As long as the clove is whole, the garlic has no smell; it is the destruction of the cellular structure that releases the typical aroma,

Cultivation of garlic

Widespread throughout the world, so much so that it is difficult to establish its certain origin, garlic has always been used both in cooking and for its healing effects. For this reason its cultivation is practiced in an intense way and in every situation. A good housewife, especially until a few decades ago, always had a corner where she cultivated aromatic plants and certainly there was no shortage of garlic. The bulb is made up of many cloves, the bulbils. These should be separated and placed at 3 – 4 centimeters deep in a well-drained and rather light soil. Burying only larger and firmer bulbils will result in higher quality bulbs. In areas with not too cold temperatures, garlic can be sown in autumn, while it will be appropriate to do it in March in colder areas. A’ any fertilization must be carried out before planting the cloves, with sulfur-based fertilizer or manure. Garlic resists drought well, better than excessive watering. Towards the end of the reproductive cycle, when the plant begins to dry out, it is good to suspend or reduce watering.

Harvesting and storage of garlic

When the aerial part of the garlic plant is yellowed and dry, we proceed by extracting it from the ground and letting it dry further. In some southern areas the bulbs are harvested on the day of San’Antonio, on June 13, or, in other climatic areas, towards the end of July. It is good to pay attention to the leaves to understand the right moment to eradicate the plant because, if you delay too much, the bulbils tend to separate in the ground. The crops are tied together forming bunches, or the leaves are intertwined, thus obtaining the typical braids, so famous in tales and legends about vampires. The bulbs should be kept in a cool and dry place, as the bulbils remain inert, without sprouting, for several months. It is necessary to protect them from the sun which damages them.

Garlic cultivation: Cultivation of the different varieties

White garlic is the most common. Among all the varieties, it is the most conservable and the most resistant; it can be white Piacenza, Neapolitan or Piedmontese. Pink garlic, Neapolitan or Agrigento, is more delicate and is consumed above all new. Finally, the red garlic, from Sulmona or Trapani, has a spicy and strong aroma. The cultivation of garlic in all these varieties does not differ much and, above all, it can be carried out in pots, on a balcony or terrace. The main attention must be paid to proper drainage. In organic crops, garlic plants are alternated with other crops because they are effective in keeping parasites away. The pests that can attack the garlic crop are mainly aphids, which adore the leaves of the plants.

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