Over the years, science has effectively shown that garlic is one of the most potent and healthy foods. It’s strong antibacterial and antiviral properties make it effective in fighting disease caused by bacteria. Garlic is also known for its cardio-protective properties, such as reducing blood pressure and vascular inflammation. Finally, many studies have shown that garlic is a potent cancer fighter.
Although it’s inexpensive to buy, store-bought garlic may not offer the same therapeutic benefits as home grown and local varieties. Therefore, here’s a short guide on how to grow garlic (or buy from your local farmers) and why it’s important to do so.
Most Garlic Comes from China
When it comes to garlic, the source of origin really matters. Why? Because the majority of garlic sold in the Americas comes from China. Some estimate China’s share to be around 70 to 80 percent of global garlic consumption. And this includes a fair share of “organic” garlic.
Why is this important? Because there are many concerns about the production practices that Chinese farmers employ when growing and harvesting garlic. Specific concerns include the following:
- Garlic from China is sprayed with bleach and other chemicals to stop it from sprouting, to whiten it, and to kill insects and plant matter.
- Chinese farmers fumigate their garlic crops with methyl bromide, which is very toxic. High concentrations of methyl bromide can cause damage to the respiratory system and the central nervous system.
- Because it has to travel such large distances, Chinese garlic is treated with growth inhibitors and subjected to very cold temperatures. These practices result in the reduction of allicin levels, which is the substance responsible for garlic’s health benefits.
How to Grow Garlic
To get the most nutrition out of your garlic, without all the harmful chemicals, you have two options. One, buy local. Or grow your own.
Whichever option you choose, you will need to buy local garlic first, so you have some cloves to plant. The easiest way to identify that garlic is local is see if it still has the roots attached. Chinese importers have to remove the roots to abide by regulations. Additionally, you can squeeze the garlic to see if it is firm. Often, Chinese garlic is more watery, so it will be softer and lighter. So the firmer the garlic, the better.
If you decide to grow your own garlic, it is super easy. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the best time to plant garlic is in the fall, typically November. Then, you can harvest your crop the following summer.
Here’s is a short step-by-step guide on how to grow garlic, from Dr. Mercola:
1) For the biggest bulbs, plant your cloves in the fall after the first frost. If you don’t mind smaller bulbs, you can also plant them in late winter, once the soil has thawed.
2) Select a sunny spot in your garden and use well-draining fertile soil with a neutral pH (6.5 to 7.0 is best). Loosen the soil at least 1 foot deep and mix in a 1-inch layer of organic compost. If your soil is too acidic, add in a small amount of wood ash.
3) Right before planting, select a fresh, healthy bulb and break free the individual cloves. With the papery skin still intact, soak the clove in water with a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for two hours. Soaking is optional, but it helps prevent fungal disease and encourages healthy growth.
4) Poke a hole, about 3 to 4 inches deep, and place the clove in the hole, pointed end up. Space each clove about 6 to 8 inches apart and cover with soil.
5) Cover the plantings with 3 to 8 inches of mulch or hay.
It’s that easy! So don’t let another fall season pass you buy without planting some garlic bulbs.
This article (How to Grow Garlic and Why You Need To) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017. Furthermore, you may not copy, reproduce, publish or distribute any content therein without written permission. You may contact us here.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.