Essential to give your cooking a bit of added taste and recommended as an ally for our health, garlic (Allium sativum, a member of the Liliaceae family) should never be lacking in your vegetable garden. If you don’t have a piece of land and have decided to create a vegetable garden on your balcony, here’s how you can sow and grow garlic in a pot.
First of all choose a pot or container that is at least 40 cm wide. Put a layer of expanded clay, at least 6 cm – 7 cm, in the bottom and then fill it with universal potting soil. If the soil is too compact break it up with your hands and mix it with 10-15 % of sand, expanded clay or agricultural perlite.
Make holes in the soil, at least 15 cm apart; to do so you can use a trowel or a stake. A garlic bulb is made up of segments called cloves: split them up and, if possible, sow the outer ones, which are larger and arch-shaped, as well as being the healthiest and strongest. Sow the cloves with the tip pointing upwards, at a depth of around 3 cm, so that about 2-3 millimetres show above the surface.
If the pot is in a spot that isn’t protected, you won’t normally need to water it because the rain will be sufficient for your garlic’s needs. During periods in which the weather is too dry however it is essential that you irrigate, but with limited quantities of water. Try to water regularly, on the other hand, if your pot is sheltered and the rain cannot reach it. In any case take care that there is never too much water, this could cause the bulb to rot. In order to guarantee good drainage break up the soil frequently, especially if it becomes compact due to frequent rain or incorrect irrigation. Finally, remember to check the plants in your pot regularly, because garlic can be subject to attack from pests and diseases.
The easiest variety to grow is definitely white garlic, which is less delicate than pink varieties to waterlogging and incorrect irrigation.