Boil garlic to remove volatile compounds and improve flavour.

Get 20 cloves garlic, peel them and then bring to the boil in salted cold water. Repeat the boiling process, then simmer until tender. This removes the volatile compounds that give a harsh taste, creating a rich, delicious, complex flavour.

Viruses hitch ride on imported garlic

Next time you plant the garlic that’s sprouted in your kitchen cupboard you could be contributing to the spread of exotic viruses, say researchers.


Garlic compound to be used in preventing food bugs.

For many years, the relation of garlic and its food bug combatting qualities have been known. It is only now that scientists are considering its implementation in the food preparation industry, in particular treatments for raw and processed meats, especially raw chicken. “This is the first step in developing or thinking about new intervention strategies,” said researcher Dr Michael Konkel, from Washington State University in the US, who has been investigating the Campylobacter food poisoning bug for over 20 years.

Symptoms of the infection include diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever. It is one of the biggest causes of food poisoning in the world.

The researchers found the compound diallyl sulfide was as effective as 100 times as much of the antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin and often would work in a fraction of the time.

Konkel cautioned that the recent work is still at the basic stage, well removed from an actual application. While eating garlic is a generally healthy practice, it is unlikely to prevent Campylobacter-related food poisoning.

The compound, diallyl sulphide, is able to pierce a protective bio-film employed by the food bug that makes it hard to destroy.

So there it is, 100 times more more powerful than the antibiotics currently used for this illness.

Now is the time to plant garlic in Southern Australia.

March is slightly early for garlic, but April and May are perfect. In June it is getting a little late and you will have missed that nice little bit of warm weather growth before winter. I like to get some size on them before winter and then they just jump away once spring arrives. Once they are growing, some liquid fertilser will help move them along. If it is a dry winter, they will need a water. If it is a wet winter, you will be pleased if you have raised the bed and have good drainage. This will prevent the bulbs rotting.

Maybe the late ones you will harvest in January rather than early December. Maybe the bulbs will be a little smaller. Only experiencing the seasons in your location and your soil will tell you when the optimal time is; and even then the weather may make or break the season. It’s all part of the mystique of growing garlic. There is no exact science.

This year for garlic is in short supply because of the boggy paddocks limiting the harvest. Best off to buy the planting stock early.

Problems with Garlic


Thrips, including the Onion Thrip and the Western Red Flower Thrip can cause reduced yields. They pierce plant tissue and remove sap while their wingless cream coloured larvae feed on the younger leaves of the plant. Leaves are marked, often with silvery streaks.

Rain or overhead watering can reduce numbers, but crop should be monitored using yellow sticky traps. If there is more than 5 adults per plant, numbers are reaching epidemic and you could spray with an insecticide. Onion thrips are yelow and brown at 1.3 mm long and Western Red Flower are a bit longer at 1.5mm long. You will need a microscope to clearly determine between them. Thrips can also carry a virus (see below)

Wheat Curl Mite – These mites can also be on corn or wheat crops also. They cause leaf stunting and curling and cloves infested wit them become twisted and have brown spotted areas on them. Bulbs can completely dry out in storage. Avoid growing these crops successively in the same area.(also see virus below)


Downy mildew is a fungal disease often present during cool wet weather. You get pale oval spots on leaves that can eventually turn grey as the laef yellows and dies. Dead leaf tips can also be seen, especially on young plants. Some solutions to minimise downy mildews include watering before midday and spacing subsequent crps further apart to allow for improved air flow. Fungicides can be used.

White Rot is a fungal disease assisted by cold and wet conditions. It’s white fluffy growth can be seen at the base of the plant around the roots and bulb. Other symtoms include leaves yellowing, wilting, decaying and toppling over. Tops can be pulled away from the base of the plant. This disease may survive for 20 years in the soil and one outbreak can infect 20 – 30 plants around it. It’s potential for dmaging a particular garlic growing region can be devastating. Even lightly infected bulbs can carry this disease through storage. Because of this it is very important to select planting material from crops free of this disease.

Virus – There are at least 3 well know viruses but they can combine and show varying symptoms and be hard to identify specifically. Leek yellow stripe virus, shallot virus and onion yellow dwarfing virus can all affect garlic and reduce its yield. Plants can appear stunted, yellowed or mottled on the yonger leaves. Bulbs can deteriorate quicker in storage. As well as being spread by an infected bulb, insects like aphids and thrips can also transmit the disease. There is no real solution to this problem other than only selecting planting material that is free of a virus – another reason to buy garlic for planting from a reputable source.

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