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Garlic Cultivation for KNF

Updated: Jun 28


cloves of garlic ready to cultivate for KNF
Garlic to Plant

Garlic is adaptable but performs best in temperate climates with cool winters and warm, sunny growing seasons. Cultivating garlic is relatively straightforward. Proper soil conditions, adequate sunlight, and timely planting according to the local climate will ensure a successful garlic harvest.


Garlic needs a cold period (vernalization) to form bulbs properly. Vernalization is achieved by keeping garlic between 0°C to 10°C (32°F and 50°F) for several weeks.


Garlic grows best in temperatures ranging from 13°C to 24°C (55°F to 75°F).



Garlic can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 3-8. Hardneck varieties are preferred for zones 3-5, while Softneck varieties are better for zones 6-8.


In areas with harsh winters, garlic is typically planted in the fall, 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes, allowing roots to be established freezing.


In regions with mild winters, garlic can be planted in late fall or early winter. However, for proper bulb formation, the soil should not get too warm during the vernalization period.


Garlic can be more challenging to grow in very hot climates. Softneck varieties are more suitable, and planting should be timed to avoid the hottest part of the year. Mulching can help retain soil moisture and keep the roots cool. 


In tropical and subtropical climates, seed cloves may need to be put in the refrigerator for several weeks to induce vernalization and force bulb formation. Avoid growing at the hottest time of the year.



Garlic requires full sun, with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, to ensure good bulb development and overall plant health. 



Garlic prefers moderate rainfall. Plant in well-drained soil to prevent bulb rot if rainfall is high.



Garlic prefers loose, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. It does not grow well in heavy clay or waterlogged soils.

The ideal pH is between 6.0 and 7.0.



Hardneck Garlic varieties are best for colder climates. They have a hard stem in the center and produce fewer but larger cloves.


Softneck Garlic varieties are better for warmer climates. They have a softer stem and produce more cloves per bulb.


Elephant Garlic is not a true garlic but a type of leek, producing very large cloves with a milder flavor.



Separate the garlic bulb into individual cloves, keeping the papery husk on each clove. To follow the Korean Natural Farming (KNF) protocol, soak the cloves in Seed Soaking Solution (SES) before planting.


Since garlic sprouts in 1-2 weeks, considered a medium-fast germination, it is recommended that garlic cloves be soaked in SES for no more than 4 hours. However, since garlic is sensitive to rot, it may be better to soak them for less time; 2 hours should be enough. Less is always best when soaking with SES.


Plant cloves about 2 inches deep, pointed end up. 


Garlic cloves are typically planted with a spacing of 10-15cm (4-6 inches) apart in rows that are 30-45 cm (12-18) inches apart. However, since garlic is such a great companion plant, it may be better to plant it among other crops, such as tomatoes, carrots, and peppers, to deter pests.


Apply a layer of mulch (e.g., straw, leaves, or grass clippings) to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and protect the garlic from temperature fluctuations.



Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Reduce watering as the plants mature to prevent rot and promote bulb formation.


Over-fertilizing, especially nitrogen as garlic matures, can cause lush tops with small bulbs.


Garlic does not compete well with weeds. Regularly remove weeds to ensure good bulb development. Adequate mulch should prevent most weeds.


Common Pests include onion maggots, nematodes, and aphids. Proper Soil Foundation and avoiding over-fertilizations should prevent most pests. Using clean, healthy, disease-free planting stock will also help.

Good air circulation, avoiding overhead watering, and avoiding over-watering will prevent most fungal diseases. Soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.


Softneck varieties are more suitable for warmer climates as they do not require a long cold period. Look for garlic varieties that have been bred or are known to perform well in tropical conditions.

Mimic vernalization by refrigerating the garlic cloves before planting at temperatures between 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F) for 6-8 weeks. After pre-chilling, plant the cloves immediately to ensure they receive the benefit of the simulated cold period.

Raised beds can ensure good drainage and avoid waterlogged soil, which is common in tropical areas with heavy rains. Organic matter will improve drainage and fertility. Soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Mulch will help retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, suppress weeds, and increase organic matter.

Plant garlic during the coolest part of the year, typically the dry season in tropical regions. This helps in reducing heat stress on the plants. Choose a planting time when the days are shorter, as garlic needs shorter days to initiate bulbing.

In tropical climates, growing garlic can be more challenging due to the absence of a natural cold period. However, it is still possible with careful planning and specific techniques such as pre-chilling the cloves, using suitable varieties, and optimizing planting conditions. By following these guidelines, you can achieve a successful garlic harvest in a tropical environment.





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