Garlic is a popular choice with home gardeners for its unique taste, benefits, and long shelf life. But does growing garlic affect your garden? Are there any benefits of growing garlic for other companion plants? Does the soil lose or gain nutrients after garlic grows in your garden?
Yes, there are both positive and negative effects of growing garlic on your garden. Growing garlic impacts the growth of other companion plants and the soil also undergoes changes after garlic is grown in it.
Garlic is a great companion plant offering several nutrient benefits to nearby plants as well as protection against soil-borne infectious pathogens and insects.
Positive Effects of Growing Garlic in Your Garden
Gardeners have a lot of good things to say about this beloved bulb vegetable, of course, this includes the taste and aroma properties.
Apart from the fact you will be getting fresh garlic, garlic scapes, and garlic bulbs, there are certain invisible aspects as well. Read on to find out about the benefits accrued by your garden.
1. Excellent Companion Plant – Garlic
Garlic can influence flowering plants, vegetables, and fruits by offering them immunity against some fungal diseases, improving growth, and even enhancing the output of some crops!
In some cases, a beneficial partnership can follow. For example, growing garlic and chamomile is a beneficial relationship. Chamomile enhances garlic aroma while garlic offers protection and nutrient benefits.
Companion plants that are benefitted from Garlic include:
However, not all plants do well with garlic, more about this later.
2. Garlic Improves Soil Nutrients
Garlic is usually chosen as a garden crop since it enhances the nutrient levels in the soils. This nutrient-rich soil can therefore benefit other plants that use these compounds.
Studies show that garlic will release high amounts of soluble protein into the soil.
Higher amounts of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) in the soil are also seen where garlic is grown. You could go on to compare garlic to “legumes” which are known to fix nutrients (nitrogen compounds) back into the soil.
3. Enhance Soil Enzymes and Microbes With Garlic
It goes without saying that if nutrients present in the soil change, the enzymes and microbes also present will change. Garlic, therefore, earns credit for initiating such a difference in the garden soil profile.
The soil enzymes undergo a change with the growing of garlic. It makes the soil more suitable for plants to grow well with the added nourishment. This is the main reason why plants planted as companions for garlic exhibit growth spurts.
Beneficial microbes will contribute to the growth of plants and not to their detriment. Therefore, growing garlic in different areas of the garden can improve the overall soil quality of your garden.
4. Pest Deterrent
Garlic has a pungent taste, luckily, this serves as an advantage to people who have “uninvited guests” visiting their garden. Animals and pests that forage and eat vegetables when passing through gardens are deterred.
These animals include deer, moles, rabbits, squirrels, rats, possums, crows, and many others. Many garlic growers have stated that these pests are not actually eating the garlic bulbs.
A few of them (rabbits and squirrels, moles to some extent) may indulge in curiosity and dig the garlic bulbs up but not eat them.
Garlic deters common pests such as Aphids and Japanese Beetles that are common pests in gardens. How exactly does garlic do this?
It is well known that garlic has high quantities of Sulphur compounds. These Sulphur compounds have antifungal properties that help to strengthen plants and reduce their vulnerability to a range of pests, fungi, and diseases.
Garlic is so good at being a pest deterrent that it is an active ingredient in some natural pest control products. You can even make your own pest control recipe by using garlic extracts in the right proportions.
Did you know that garlic even keeps mosquitos at bay? Well, now you know!
Want to know about Garlic crop diseases – Read Here
Negative Effects of Growing Garlic in Your Garden
Growing garlic in your garden is not always a walk in the park! You can expect some ill effects, luckily, the positives outweigh the negatives in the case of garlic. Here are a few minor drawbacks you should know about.
1. Garlic Leaves you Vulnerable to Some Pests
On the downside, garlic does have its own set of common pests, diseases, and problems. While garlic deters some pests, it is vulnerable to the pests that any Allium member is prone to. This includes onion thrips, onion maggots, dry bulb mite, stem and leaf nematodes, and Allium leaf miner, etc.
You will have to deal with all of these as well as the diseases that accompany them. Also, there is always the chance that these pests will remain in the soil and could affect other plants in the near vicinity. The last thing you would want!
Also, planting Allium plants next to or near each other is not such a great idea. Try to scatter them around the garden to ensure the safety and maximum output of crops.
2. Avoid Planting Garlic with These Plants
As per our discussion above, garlic makes a great companion plant.
Sadly, this is not true for every plant out there. There are a handful of plants that could be negatively affected or could affect the growth of garlic itself.
Notably, Asparagus should never be a garlic companion. This is because garlic is said to stunt the growth of the asparagus. The same can be said about many other plants like sage, beans, peas, and parsley.
Planting any of these plants together with garlic will lead to a reduction of crops from your garden.
3. Garlic Takes Time and Space!
Garlic is no overnight crop, that’s for sure! These tasty bulbs take 8 to 9 months from the date of planting bulbs to the date of harvesting those large mature garlic bulbs. If you are committing to planting garlic, make sure you are in no rush to empty that garden patch!
While you can get two harvests of other crops in these 8 or 9 months, garlic only gives you one harvest. With the addition of preparation and fertilizing, you can write off that piece of garden for almost a year.
When it comes to garlic, it will not pay off being impatient. You will have to care for the garlic plants, observe and rectify illnesses, and balanced nutrients, and water to harvest healthy and big garlic heads.
4. Get it Right, or you get Nothing
There are very few second chances with garlic. This is because you cannot see the bulb growing as it is under the ground.
Some say that you just have to plant them and forget about them for many months. This is partially true but not the “forget about them” part. Of course, any plant requires attention if you want to reap rewards.
A crucial factor in garlic is getting the right harvest time. Harvesting garlic too early or too late can lead to unusable garlic or poor harvests. This is why it is a risky bid, especially for people who are not experienced or cautious.
If you are also unsure about this? Read about when to harvest garlic and make sure you are right on time.
Key Takeaways About Garlic Growing in Gardens
- Garlic makes an excellent companion plant by offering protection from a few pests, diseases, and some animals.
- Overall, the garden soil profile improves. Nutrients recycle back into the soil naturally.
- Beneficial microbe populations are given a boost with garlic root secretions.
On the other hand,
- Garlic can jeopardize other Allium members with the pests it attracts.
- Garlic is not suitable to grow with every plant or vegetable. There are a few plants that are negatively impacted when grown with garlic.
- Garlic is a slow-grower, taking a minimum of 8 to 9 months to completely mature and yield itself harvestable.
- Timing when to harvest garlic is a make-or-break action that could make the 8-month garden growth period a waste.
There is proof that when intercropping strawberries with garlic, the strawberries appeared to have fewer spider mites compared to strawberries grown in the absence of garlic. So in this scenario, garlic helps to reduce the spider mite population. At the same time, few believe that garlic stunts strawberry growth by utilizing most of the soil nutrients.
Yes, a garlic garden is good for garden soil. Proof of this is the fact that garlic is the ideal choice and an excellent companion plant. It improves soil quality by adding vital nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) back to the ground, these nutrients can then be utilized by other plants.
These 3 nutrients are important for the growth of any vegetable you are growing in your garden. It will help the next crop cultivated in the place of garlic.
Yes, garlic and tomatoes make a great combination and are both essential food vegetables that can be grown in your garden. Garlic is the preferable companion plant for tomatoes since it helps to keep usually suspected pests away from tomatoes.
Garlic keeps spider mites away, a common pest that affects tomatoes in the garden. It also provides free nutrients to the soil like nitrogen. This gives tomatoes a better chance of healthy growth.