Garlic is a common condiment used all around the globe. It is a relative of onions, chives, and shallots.
Garlic farming in Kenya provides a significant potential for Kenyan farmers, as the country imports almost 80% of its garlic from China. Kenyans can also take advantage of value-added garlic items like seasonings and supplements that include garlic extracts.
Garlic cultivated locally is preferred by the local market, particularly by the Indian community, since it is more pungent than garlic imported from China.
Garlic's Medical Advantages
Garlic is a vitamin-packed food. It is well-known for its therapeutic properties. It aids in the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. The immune system is strengthened by eating garlic clove. Garlic has chemicals that aid in the fight against cancer and malignant tumors.
Garlic contains a molecule called ajoene, which can help to reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure. Garlic increases the formation of nitric oxide synthase, a kind of enzyme. Impotence can be treated using this enzyme.
Garlic is available in a wide range of sizes and shapes.
The following are the three most common garlic varieties cultivated in Kenya:
*Elephant garlic *Soft-neck garlic *Hard-neck garlic
In Kenya, the standard garlic variety is soft-neck garlic. It has white paper-like skin. Garlic in this shape is the easiest to cultivate. As a result, it is widely available in the Kenyan market. On each head of this kind, there are fewer but larger cloves. It also has a strong aroma and is robust and delicious. California Early, California Late, and creole are examples of soft-neck garlic varieties.
Elephant garlic has a massive head with several enormous cloves. You may find this variety at most supermarkets. Elephant garlic has a delicate flavor and a slight odor when added to your foods.
The flavor of hard-neck garlic is robust, and the odor is pleasant and spicy. On each head, you'll see more significant and fewer cloves. Its skin is easy to detach and ready to be discarded. It is not often preferred for the Kenyan market since it is exceedingly perishable.
Requirements in terms of the environment
Garlic demands rich, well-drained soils. To guarantee that soil-borne illnesses are not present, you should do a soil test. Your garlic should have a PH of 6.5 to 6.7. To maintain a healthy farm, proper site evaluation and crop rotation are essential.
preparation of the land
To begin, you must do a soil test to determine the soil type on your property. It will help you determine whether you have the ideal soil for garlic and, if not, how to improve it. Don't be concerned if your soil isn't suitable. Garlic is a hardy plant that thrives in poor soil conditions.
All you have to do is feed your soil using organic fertilizers like alfalfa and manure and cover crops to help improve weak soils. You should carefully prepare the soil on your farm. Garlic thrives on soil that is not too compacted until the soil a 6 to 8 inches depth. If your farm's soil is compacted, such as clay, and can place a layer of tiny boulders at the bottom of the trench.
The greatest garlic-growing soil
The elemental soil mix for optimum development is shown below.
Nitrogen: Your garlic needs more nitrogen than you may think, particularly during the early phases of growth as it emerges and spreads its leaves. Organic manures, such as those from sheep or cows, will suffice.
Potassium is necessary for the development of healthy bulbs and the growth of leaves.
PH: For garlic cultivation, a PH of 6.0 to 7.5 is recommended.
Phosphorous is necessary for proper root formation.
Sulfur compounds are connected to garlic's distinct tastes and medicinal properties. Add Sulfur to your soil beds by dusting gypsum over them shortly after the plants have started and leafing out.
Getting the nursery ready
Garlic seeds are not generally suggested for growing in a nursery in Kenya. You should only purchase germinated cloves from a reputable source.
The procedure of transplantation
A hoe is typically used in Kenya. Trenches three inches deep are required. If your farm's soil is compacted, such as clay, you'll need to dig a 6-inch-deep row at the bottom of the trench, place gravel or a layer of tiny rocks. Fill the rows with fine-textured, loosely packed earth. To begin, make a 2-inch deep hole in the earth using a hoe.
It would be best if you made sure that the soil is well-drained. Place the cloves root-side down in the soil. Cover the clove with a thin layer of loose dirt. It's best to place your garlic bulbs 6 inches apart. The distance between rows should be roughly 2 feet. After you've planted your crops, you should softly water them.
Requirements for Irrigation
Garlic needs a minimal quantity of water to grow. You should constantly make sure that appropriate drainage is in place. If you're growing garlic in a dry climate, make sure to water it every couple of weeks. After your plants have sprouted, begin watering them.
Irrigation should be limited depending on the qualities of your soil. If your garlic is planted in damp soil, it will rot. To prevent wasting resources, mulch the ground.
Bacterial infections in the soil cause the majority of garlic infections. Before you begin planting, you should do a thorough assessment of your land. Downy mildew, base rot, white rot, penicillium decay, and rust are some of the most common diseases that affect garlic.
Insects are pests.
Insects are more likely to infest your crops if you don't have enough water. Wireworms, stem and bulb nematodes (roundworms), leek moth, bulb mites, and blister beetles are just a few of the pests that can harm your garlic.
Controlling the weeds
Carefully remove weeds from any location where they appear. Plant development has been hindered by herbicides that have been used for an extended period.
Harvesting and Post-Harvest Management
It is recommended that you schedule your crops appropriately. Because you may split heads, late harvesting may result in rotten cloves. If you harvest your garlic too early, the cloves will be less compact and smaller.
The presence of leaf indicates that your garlic is ready to be harvested. The foliage may die back before the optimal time to harvest if the soil is dry for a long time. However, provided you maintained the soil moist, your garlic will be ready to harvest when the leaf becomes a light green color.