By ABCafrica reporter
Garlic is perennial vegetable bulb grown as an annual in Uganda. Garlic is a member of the onion family, and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Garlic is widely used for both its culinary and medicinal attributes.
There are two types of garlic known today; hard neck- this produces a flower stem referred to as scape which can be removed and used as a salad accessory. Hard necks include (Lautrec Wight, elephant garlic, chesnok red, and the early purple Wight). Soft neck variety- this type doesn’t produce a flower stem, it even stores for much longer than the hard neck. Soft necks include (Wight cristo, Albigensian wight, cledor and Germidour). Garlic is propagated from its cloves. These must be exposed to a temperature below 65°F or they may fail to form bulb when planted.Garlic prefers well- drained, fertile soils with plenty of organic matter. The plant tolerates a wide pH range but prefers slightly acidic soils ranging in (6.2-6.8).
How to plant garlic in Uganda
Break apart Garlic cloves from the bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove. Plant each clove 2.5 cm below the surface with the pointed end facing up so that the bulb sits just below the soil surface. Plant each clove 10 cm (4 inches) apart and in rows 30 cm (12 inches) apart. Water every 3-5 days during bulbing. Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen; therefore fertilize especially if you see yellowing of leaves. Keep an eye out on white rot. It’s the fungus that may attack garlic in cool weather. Not much can be done to control or prevent the problem except rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting.
To Harvest and Store garlic in Africa
Harvest time depends on when you plant, but the clue would be to look for yellow tops. When harvesting carefully, lift the bulbs with a spade or a garden fork. Pull the plants carefully brush off the soil, and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for 2 weeks. Hang them upside down on a string in bunches of 4-6. Make sure all sides get good air circulation. The bulbs are cured and ready to store when their wrappers are dry and papery, and the roots are dry. At this point the cloves should be easy to crack and the root crown is hard.