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Source: [1]

Years grown at UBC Farm/LFSOG: not available (currently grown at UBC farm)

Latin name: Allium sativum


  • It is in your best interest to buy garlic cloves that are compatible with the climate and day length in your area.
  • There are 600 known species categorized under genus Allium.

Common names and description of some garlic varieties:

  • Bavarian Purple: strong flavoured garlic that produces up to eight cloves per head
  • California Late: reliable in Mediterranean conditions
  • Elephant garlic: sweet and mild
  • Spanish Roja: mid season, hardneck variety which is popular for its true garlic flavour
  • Serpent Garlic: coiled stem that produces red bulbs
  • Premium Northern White: most cold-hardy garlic of all
  • Music: characterized by big cloves with a tint of pink

Growing conditions


  • Garlic can be cultivated annually or biennially. Cool, rainy areas used for its cultivation would result in low-grade, poor tasting garlic. Garlic is hardy so usually few plants are needed to cultivate a garlic garden. But it is important to handle cloves lightly as pressing them into the soil can impair root development. Cloves should be planted vertically with the flattened base at the bottom with at least 1 inch of soil above the tip.


  • Garlic is usually grown from healthy bulb segments from a previous crop. From March to April, ½ inch thick cloves can be planted 4 inches apart and 1 inch deep in 6-8 inch wide rows. A 1-2 month dormant period at temperatures 32-50°F is generally needed for decent sized bulbs to develop. A long growing period is beneficial for the ripening process.

Growing Conditions

  • The planting of cloves is done either in March/April or September/October.

Garlic does best in warm, sunny, well-fertilized open ground especially in sandy, loamy soil. In areas with heavy soil, cloves can be planted any time in pots or packs containing loam-based potting mix and added sharp sand/grit, and can be transplanted outdoors as soon as soil conditions are favourable. On poor soils, a general fertilizer can be added 10 days before planting. It is important to rotate the crop and to not grow garlic in sites where onions have been planted in the previous year.

Protected Cropping

  • Garlic can be grown in pots, window boxes, or containers, in a moisture-retentive, free-draining potting mix. Note: It is important to place container in a sunny location and to water plant regularly for decent-sized bulbs to develop.
  • Fertilization is recommended with 0.30-0.50 lbs/acre nitrogen (nitrate of lime and ammonia), 0.40-0.80 lbs/acre superphosphate, and 1-1.50 lbs/acre potassium salt 40%. Compost or manure can also be used. The addition of nitrogen can significantly improve crop yield.


  • Keep the bulbs weed-free throughout the growing season.
  • Spring: Mulch to suppress weeds. Water if necessary.
  • Summer: Keep weed-free.
  • Fall: Plant cloves in containers for transplanting in spring.


  • Store garlic in cool, dry indoor conditions (ie. in a shed or garage). Hang them in bunches tied by the leaves, in string bags, or braid the stems together. Good garlic is firm. Discoloured or dried up bulbs or cloves will have an off-flavour.

Companion Planting

  • Garlic planted beside rose bushes can control greenflies. Good companions are lettuce, beet, Swiss chard, and strawberries while peas or beans should be avoided.



  • Harvesting usually takes place mid-to-late summer after leaves and bulb stems have begun to turn yellow. Dig bulbs out to either sun dry or air dry under covers. A delayed harvest can cause bulbs to shrivel which could increase the likelihood of being diseased during storage. Handle harvest with care as garlic is easily bruised.

Nutritional Information

Nutrition Facts/Valeur Nutritive
Serving Size: 1 clove (3g)
Amount Per Serving %Daily Value*
Calories 4
Total Fat 0g 0%
   Saturated Fat 0g 0%
   Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
   Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
   Sugars 0g
Protein 0.2g
Vitamine A 0%
Vitamine C 2%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
* % Daily value based on a 2000 calorie diet

Nutrient data from the Canadian Nutrient File


  • Garlic is used as seasoning in many cuisines. Specific dishes include curries, stir fries, and pastas.

Borscht (serves 8-10, from Agora manager Laura Hsu)


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 3 cups beets, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 10 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch dill, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper


  • Sauté onion in 1 Tbsp oil until golden and soft. Set aside.
  • In a big soup pot, sauté carrots, celery, and cabbage in 2 Tbsp oil for 3 minutes. Add bay leaf, basil, beets and stock and simmer until beets are slightly tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice, tomato juice, dill, onions, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream or thick plain yogurt on top.

Additional usage inventory

Medicinal Uses

  • Legendary Old-Indian physicians Charaka, Susruta, and Vagbhata knew the therapeutic benefits of garlic; namely, as a remedy for skin diseases, loss of appetite, dyspepsia, cough, anorexia, rheumatic conditions, abdominal diseases, spleen enlargement, and haemorrhoids. Likewise, the Arabs used all parts of the plant for treatment of worms, snake bites, vermin control, skin rashes, dentistry, treatment of eye diseases, menstrual abnormalities, and in veterinary medicine.

In southern Germany, France, and Italy, garlic is used medicinally in the following ways:

  • ear and tooth ache: put a fried garlic bulb on the upper arm to divert pain
  • herpes rashes: use freshly pressed garlic juice externally
  • whooping cough: rub garlic under the soles of feet and around the heart area
  • to eliminate worms in children: garlic cooked in milk and given as an enema

Therapeutic Effects

  • Heart and circulatory system: garlic may protect blood vessels from damaging effects of free radicals; improve blood lipid profile, increase capillary flow, and lower elevated blood pressure levels

Antibacterial effects (allicin)

  • Prolonged heating of cloves at high temperature causes antimicrobial activity
  • In 1944, the antibacterial activity of crushed garlic clove as an oxygenated sulfur compound (allicin) was identified. Alliin, an oxygenated sulfur amino acid, was later discovered as the parent compound of allicin. *Alliin alone had no antibiotic activity unless converted to allicin by a garlic enzyme, alliinase.

Antifungal effects:

  • against pathogenic fungi and yeasts

Antiparasitic effects

Insecticidal and repellent effects

  • garlic oil for mosquito control


  • inhibits formation of free radicals, support endogenous radical scavenger mechanisms, and protect LDL against oxidation by free radicals
  • ex: garlic and onion extracts have been used for the preservation of oil or lard for 3-6 months

Anticancer effects:

  • Epidemiological studies have shown that garlic may significantly reduce the risk of cancer especially cancers of gastrointestinal tract
  • Iowa Women’s Health study found that garlic was the only food out of the 127 foods included in the study that had a statistically significant association with decreased colon cancer risk.

Immunomodulatory effects

  • Preliminary studies in humans using an alliin/allicin standardized garlic power preparation has elucidated positive effects on immunoreactions and phagocytosis

Hypoglycemic effects

  • lower elevated blood glucose concentrations
  • Enhancement of thiamine absorption

Academic connections

Information not available


Koch, H.P., & Lawson, L.D. (1996). Garlic: The Science and Therapeutic Application of Allium sativum L. and Related Species Second Edition . Ann Harbor, MI: Williams & Wilkins

Health Canada. (2008). Canadian Nutrient File (CNF). Retrieved from

Additional notes


  • Origin: Central Asia
  • The usage of Allium sativum L. dates back to the Neolithic Age. Because of its strong taste and odour, garlic is not well-received everywhere; in particular, the northern countries. However, in southern countries like China, garlic was used as both medicine and seasoning.
  • Garlic played an important role in Egypt. According to a report of Herodotus in History of Egypt, there is an inscription on the pyramid that reports the amount of radishes, onions and garlic which were consumed by the construction workers of the pyramid to keep them in good health. In modern currency, 1600 silver talents would roughly translate to 10 million dollars being spent on radishes, onions, and garlic over twenty years for 360,000 workers. Interestingly, remains of garlic bulbs have also been found in the burial chambers of Tutankhamen, who was buried in 1352 BC. Ancient Egyptians viewed garlic as consecrated and sacred.
  • Romans believed that garlic could void off evil spirits from their homes so they not only consumed garlic but they also painted the actual garlic plant on walls.
  • Did you know that today almost 3 million tons per annum are produced globally?