Polyhouse Garlic Farming (Vellulli), Cultivation Practices

Introduction: Hello polyhouse farmers are you interested to grow garlic in polyhouse? well, you have reached the right place to learn the polyhouse garlic farming basics. Garlic is a plant in the Allium family and it is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. Each segment of a garlic bulb is called a clove and there are about 10–20 cloves in a single bulb, give or take. Garlic is rich in proteins, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and carbohydrates. Ascorbic acid content is high in green garlic.

A step by step guide to Polyhouse Garlic Farming

Garlic is a native of Southern Europe is one of the important bulb crops grown and used as a spice or condiment throughout India. It is generally used in the preparation of various dishes. It has been a popular ingredient both as a spice and medicine. Garlic contains different nutrients and nutritional matters that function as antibiotics in the body. In other words, it will help boost immunity.

Requirements for garlic farming in polyhouse

Polyhouse is a type of advanced agriculture where you can increase crop production by creating the same modified climate by covering a steel or bamboo structure with a UV stabilized (200 microns) film. In polyhouse, plants can be grown as per the requirement, irrespective of the weather conditions, because it is a closed structure. The covering of polyvinyl sheets in polyhouse can protect seedlings from insect and pest attacks to a great extent, ensuring the production of healthy seedlings. Garlic plants grow faster inside the structure because the temperature remains a little higher inside the poly-house, even when it is cooler outside.

Garlic plants are grown under controlled temperature thus there are fewer chances of crop loss or damage. You can grow garlic plants throughout the year and will not have to wait for any particular season. There are fewer pests and insects in a polyhouse structure. The external climate will not have any impact on the growth of garlic plants.

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A Guide for Polyhouse Garlic Production.
A Guide for Polyhouse Garlic Production.

Low-cost polyhouses can be used to protect crops from excessive rainfall and can give a sheltered environment for the production of better quality crops over the rainy season cropping period. Precise irrigation and fertilization are probable in the polyhouse structure. Export-oriented production is most possible under these polyhouse structures.

Cultivating garlic under polyhouse conditions and providing artificial environment congenial for its growth and quality blooms is considered as another option to generate the crop throughout the year. For this, the entire parameters essential for flower production are provided under controlled environmental conditions. The temperature, humidity, and aeration, etc are modified according to crop needs.

Polyhouse technology is useful in improving the productivity of crops qualitatively and quantitatively by 3-5 times as compared to the open environment. This technology helps to facilitate round the year production of preferred crops. And also permits off-season production by way of controlling light, temperature, carbon dioxide level and nature of root medium.

Polyhouses are built of a Pre-Galvanized channel cum Tubular structure and Polyethylene film wherein different crops are grown under a favorable controlled environment and other conditions.

In developing countries like India, polyhouse farming is a popular greenhouse technology due to its low cost of construction and very easy maintenance. The size of the polyhouse structure can differ from small shacks to big-size buildings as per the need. The garlic plants inside the polyhouse farming are hale and hearty. Fertilizer application is easier and is controlled automatically with the help of a drip irrigation system. Polyhouse gives the right environmental facilities to garlic plants in any season.

Soil requirement for polyhouse garlic farming

Garlic requires well-drained loamy soils, rich in humus, with good content of potash. The garlic crop raised on sandy or loose soil does soils, the bulbs produced are deformed and during harvesting, many bulbs are broken and bruised and they do not keep well in storage.

Although garlic can produce in different types of soil, loamy soil with natural drainage is optimum for this crop. It is sensitive to acidic and alkaline soils; hence, a pH level of 6-8 is suitable for the optimal growth of garlic. A clayey, water-logging type soil is not suitable for garlic growing. Soils with rich organic content, good moisture, high amount of nutrients aid in good bulb formation. Heavy soil with less moisture and more waterlogging would effect deformed bulbs and soils with poor drainage capacity cause discolored bulbs.

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Different garlic varieties suitable for polyhouse

There is no distinct variety of garlic crops. Local varieties are either white and have fairly big bulbs with improved keeping quality and a higher yield or red with pungency. In polyhouse, high yielding and disease resistant garlic verities use in commercial Garlic polyhouse cultivation. The high yielding and disease resistant garlic varieties are Agrifound White, Yamuna Safed, Yamuna Safed 2, Yamuna Safed 3, Godavari, Shweta, GG-4, Phule Baswant, VL Garlic 1, VL Lahsun 2, Ooty 1, Agrifound Parvati, and Agrifound Parvati 2.

Seed rate for garlic farming

In polyhouse, 500-600 kg for garlic seed per hectare is sufficient. 

Irrigation requirement for polyhouse garlic farming

First irrigation is given after sowing and then the field is irrigated every 10 – 15 days depending upon the soil moisture availability. There must not be any scarcity of moisture in the growing season; the development of the bulbs will be affected. The last irrigation must be given 2 to 3 before harvesting for making it easy without damaging the bulbs.

The best way is to irrigate the crop frequently. It must be irrigated:

  • Immediately after planting
  • At an interval of one week to 10 days, it depends on the moisture content in the soil.

Alternating the irrigation time with a dry spell causes the outer scales of garlic to split. Waterlogging effects in the development of diseases like purple blotch and basal rot. Continuous irrigation until maturity causes secondary roots to increase. Such crops generate new sprouts and growth. Bulbs from these garlic crops cannot be stored for a long period.

The best method to irrigate garlic is by use of modern-day techniques like sprinkler and drip irrigation. It helps in improving the crop yield considerably. In the case of drip irrigation, the discharge flow rate of the emitters should be 4 liters per hour. It helps improve the yield by 15 to 25% better than the flood irrigation system. The discharge rate in sprinklers should be 135 liters per hour.

Garlic planting in polyhosue

Garlic is a heavy feeder and will generate the biggest bulbs when the soil has adequate nutrients. Compost is best, it provides fertility, improves soil organic matter, and increases drainage.

Generally, Garlic is propagated by cloves. Well-grown compact bulbs of uniform shape and size are chosen. The cloves having 8 to 10 cm size are used for planting. The planting process and other operations followed for the production of seed are the same as for bulbs production.

Separate the cloves from the bulb and plant them 6 inches apart, with about 2 inches of soil on top. As soon as the soil freezes, mulch the bed with 4-6 inches of hay, straw, or grass clippings to prevent the bulbs from heaving.

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The soil must be thoroughly prepared by repeated plowing then add well-decomposed FYM at the rate of 10 to 20 tonnes per hectare. The ideal spacing is 15 cm x 10 cm and the seed rate 500 to 600 kg of cloves per hectare. 

Weed management in polyhouse garlic farming

Germination of garlic buds occurs in 7 to 8 days. But after 3 to 4 days of planting seed cloves, weed germination takes place. That is why proper weed management is an urgent need and importance in garlic. Use Pendimethylin 30 EC 3.5 to 4 ml/liter of water or Oxypoflorophen 25 ratio EC 1.52ml/liter of water for chemical management of weed in garlic. And spray can be done before sowing or after sowing garlic seed cloves.

Manure and fertilizer in polyhouse garlic cultivation

Dung compost 200-300 q/ha and Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash ratio will be 100:50:50 kilo per hectare is required respectively. At the time of preparing the dough’s compost, the full quantity of phosphorus, potash and 1/3 of the nitrogen during the preparation of the land and the remaining quantity of nitrogen divided into two parts. One at 25 to 30 days of transplantation and second at 40-45 days.

Required care during garlic growth

Once planted garlic, water only when the soil dries out. Garlic crop loves water but does not over-water or it may rot. Do not over-fertilize; this could cause the garlic to produce prematurely before winter, causing it to freeze and die off. During spring, after the last frost, mulching is no longer necessary and you can pull back the mulch. Fertilizing garlic with a high Nitrogen fertilizer is highly recommended. Be sure to keep the weeds away from your garlic.

If any of the garlic plants start to turn yellow or look sick well before the expected harvest time, pull those plants and keep them separated from the rest of your garlic crop. They can be diseased and you don’t want it to spread to the other healthy plants.

When hard neck garlic stalks start to form scapes (a stem with a little bulge towards its end that will turn into a flower), cut them off when they start to curl close to where the leaves start to form. This is done to direct the vigor of the plant into sizing up its bulb versus producing flowers, then seeds and save the scapes.

When the ground begins to freeze, it is excellent practice to cover the garlic plants with a layer of straw mulch. This mainly helps to protect the plants overwinter, prevents frost heaving and helps to suppress weeds in the spring.

Garlic requires additional irrigation during dry periods but watering must be ceased a few weeks before harvest to allow the papery skin around the bulb to dry and to prevent the development of the disease. Garlic crop benefits from the addition of fertilizer during the growing season. Nitrogen should be applied in early spring; later applications can delay bulb development. Hard neck garlic must be pruned when the flowering stalks (scapes) begin to straighten. Removal of the flower head directs the garlic plant energy to bulb production. Soft neck garlic does not need pruning.

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Garlic plant protection

Pests in Garlic plants

Thrips – Thrips can be controlled by spraying Methyl dematon 25 EC 1 ml/lit.

Nematode – Nematode can be controlled by the application of Carbofuran 3 G 1 kg/ha 30 days after planting.

Disease of Garlic

Clove rot – Before planting treat the cloves with Carbendazim 2 g/kg.

Garlic harvesting

Garlic becomes ready for harvesting when its tops turn yellowish or brownish and show some signs of drying up and bend over.

Garlic is ready to harvest within 120 to 150 days of sowing depending on the variety. They are ready when the plant leaves start yellowing and become dry. The garlic bulbs are then pulled out, sheath cut near the bulb and roots are trimmed. They are then sun-dried for a week and this process is important for the hardening of the bulbs. Before storing they are graded according to the size and also weight.

Drying and curing garlic

Drying and curing are very essential in polyhouse garlic farming. The drying process is done to remove excess moisture from the outer skin and neck to reduce storage rot. While the curing process is an additional process of drying to remove the excess moisture and to allow the color development and help the bulbs to become compact and go into a dormant stage. It is done for about a week in the field for drying process. The method and period of curing vary depending on the weather at the time of garlic harvesting. Bulbs are covered along with their tops to avoid damage to bulbs from the sun. These are cured for 7-10 days in the shade either with tops or after curing the tops by leaving 2.5 cm above the bulbs and removing the roots. Harvesting at 100% neck fall and curing by windrow process have been recommended.

The curing in the field till foliage turns yellow must be done. The artificial curing process can be done by passing hot air at 27.35ºC through the curing room. It takes about 48 hours for complete curing procedure if humidity is between 60 – 75%.

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