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Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)

Posted by nicko 
Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
April 03, 2012 02:43PM
Garlic (kitunguu saumu)
Ha haa
I had fun over the weekend. I went to the largest agro vet shops in town Haileselasie Avenue looking for garlic seeds. All the attendants in all the shops did not have remember of having seen garlic seeds. At KFC(kenya farmers corporation) was informed that there is no such things as garlic seeds and referred to ukulima maket to enquire from there how garlic is propagated and probably buy the seeds from there.
At Ukulima market before I could talk to anyone I could see two different types of garlic being sold. One type was very clean (white) ,large and the compartments were so freshly. The other type was not so clean and the sizes were relatively small.
Chinise Garlic.jpg
Chinese variety
Local variety2.jpg
Local varietyAfter my rounds I settled to one seller. This is what i gathered.


Garlic is propagated by planting the individual small compartments/seeds. (One piece is made up of many small compartments). Whatever is available in the market mostly comes from Tanzania and the mount Elgon/Bungoma side in kenya popularly referred to as Chwelle. Then there is the large clean one from china. I was surprised that the Kenyan (Nairobi) market is flooded by the Chinese type. In fact though larger cleaner and more freshly it costs less than the local variety. Apparently the local variety is by far superior in quality than the Chinese variety. Its supply is also low and therefore the higher price. However most Kenyans/Nairobians lack this information making the Chinese variety their preferred option. In addition the local variety is a bit cumbersome in preparation as its seeds/compartments are a bit small. It’s mostly consumed by Waswahilis and Indians whom I gathered would rather have one local piece than ten Chinese pieces .


According to Mwangi(former farmer now a trader at Wakulima market) the Chinese variety cannot be grown in Kenya. He claims and I quote ' mshaina huwa anaichoma na stima kabla kuexport to make sure hatutapata hiyo mbegu yake.' he claimed they don’t germinate at all.
For the purpose of this forum I took some matured samples to go and try out in my farm. I will update once I do so.

The local variety is grown where the other onions do well. The seeds/compartments are separated and sown directly to the farm ( I mean they are not put in a seedbed first). The seeds must have however matured first before they are sawn. U can tell a matured seed by breaking it.
The matured ones will a germinating shoot in the middle while one that is fresh from harvesting will just be freshly inside. Caution must therefore be taken whole buying seeds as it is impossible to tell the ready ones by just the look of it. After harvest they stay for around 4 months before they are ready for replanting.

The soil should be well drained. If the soil stays waterlogged, they will rot before they have a chance to grow. Plant the seeds 4 inches apart in rows about 1 foot apart and plant them to a depth where only the very tips of the sets are just showing through the soil. They are also prone to pests during germination and therefore the ground must be regularly sprayed with pesticides during germination and early life stage.


From what I gathered from Marikiti the local variety is on demand all year round and the prices range from 150 - 350 ksh per kilo depending with the supply.

Apparently the reason the chinese species dont germinate in kenya is that before the garlic is exported it is treated with anti-germination chemicals to avoid germination while in supermarket shelves due to the long time taken for during the shipping and distribution. So its not in an effort to prevent the other countries like kenya to grow the particular species as mr. Mwangi from wakulima market sounded.

I recently a farmer with Garlic. The crops vegetation does not resemble onions in any way as one would emagine.Here's an image
Garlic plants.jpg
Garlic Plants

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2012 10:33AM by nicko.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
May 07, 2012 09:42AM
I actually planted the garlic seeds I bought from ukulima market and the germination was okay
young garlic.jpg
The garlic three weeks after planting
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
June 13, 2012 10:22AM
The crop seems to be doing well. Which part of kenya is your farm located?
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
June 18, 2012 08:55AM
The farm is in Kirinyaga district.
Unfortunatelly the performance is not very good I dont know whether its the climate or the soil. Am seeking proffesional help to establish the real reason for the stunted growth

Update 05/July
probably the heat inside the green house does no go well with Garlic.
A fellow farmer had also tried them in open field and she says that they did not bud.
it would be good to hear from any farmers who has grown them in Kenya. I understand most of the local variety in the market is from Tanzania

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/05/2012 08:54AM by nicko.
I am quite impressed by the good work you are doing over here.
I happen to be a student in Japan,my area of studies is not Agriculture though its is related,i have a great of interest in Agriculture.
And according to your Garlic topic,in many of my research here in Japan, i have seen many farmers using Plastic as the ground cover for their Garlic.This one enhances effective growth of the plant by controlling weeds,holding the moisture in the ground for the roots not to dry out,maintaining higher soil temperature.
Though the plastic might add more expenses to your project i think its worth a consideration
Keep up the good work.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 03, 2012 06:21PM
am going to try it in Isiolo i will update you guys on my findings.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 14, 2012 03:00PM
Wanted to know how many kilos will come out of an acre of land if planted well...
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
October 07, 2012 10:28PM
i am a horticultural farmer from mau-narok kenya. i have planted garlic and has been doing very well. my challenge has been getting 'good' market especially one that can take bulk poduce i.e. from 6-10 tones at once. could someone help. i have about 8 tones ready.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
October 15, 2012 05:33PM
Hello Phillip,

I would like more information about growing garlic.

Can I visit your farm?

Kindly contact me on email: shazidk@yahoo.com

Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
November 14, 2012 11:06AM
Hi Phillip.

I would like to try out garlic farming. Would it be possible for me to visit your farm? Please let me know on svundi@gmail.com

Kind Regards
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
November 14, 2012 11:14AM
Hi Nicko,

First, Thank you for the amazing job you're doing. It's very inspiring.

It's been a while, say 4 months, since you tried out growing garlic, I was wondering how it turned out?
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
November 18, 2012 01:31AM
Hi Nicko,
Let me begin by commending the good work that you've done here. The article is very resourceful.
I would like to know your progress. By now you should be about to harvest.
Concerning the challenges you experienced, I'd like to know the climatic conditions of your region in terms of temperatures(day &night), rainfall and type of soil. How often do you water them?
Finally where is ukulima market? or did you mean Wakulima market?

Best regards,
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
April 30, 2013 12:32PM
Technical advice on growing garlic and other spices and herbs are available locally. Do email me for any enquiries on them.
Your article was good and showed challenges you and others go through.

Best regards
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
June 22, 2013 10:18AM
Hi Ngugi,
I have an acre in Kisumu - black cotton soil- where I would like to plant garlic. I would appreciate advice on how best to prepare the soil before planting and also where to buy the garlic seeds locally.

Best regards,
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
July 01, 2013 11:09AM
So has anyone discovered how the Tanzanian are growing their garlic?
My name is Moses Githaiga and i deal with germinated bulbs for planting.You are free to contact me for more information my phone no is 0729829532.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
July 09, 2013 03:21PM
Please i would like to start garlic farming in ukambani(kibwezi) is the climate good for the crop
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
July 22, 2013 08:37PM
Hi,my name is Githaiga and i sell garlic bulbs for planting.infact my farmers register a 99% germination rate.You can reach me on 0729829532.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
August 08, 2013 08:41PM
Hi, I am Ken Rutto from E/Ravine Baringo. I once tried to plant the local kitunguu saumu and amazingly it did very well. The only thing I noted was that it took long for them to mature for harvest of upto 4 months. I now intend to grow a large parcel of about quarter acre.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
August 30, 2013 08:55PM
Hi Phillip,

I am new into garlic, but here in Uganda, we are in need of mature garlic to use for planting. Do you still have?

Contact me on xsentamu@gmail.com
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
August 30, 2013 09:01PM

Do you still have garlic seeds?, Do you have a farm from which we can learn?
How can I get the sides, which part of Kenya are you located?

Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 10, 2013 08:26PM
Anyone who has tried growing garlic around mwea?
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 13, 2013 05:26PM
good day sir. i would like to enlighten me about the soil and fertilizer requirements for growing garlic. Which type is good and economically viable?
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 26, 2013 10:36PM
I would like some information on how to grow garlic on a half an acre piece of land in kiambu. Good work on the article.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 30, 2013 12:42PM
Hi Moses,
Did you manage to plant the garlic in kisumu? Kindly update.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
September 30, 2013 07:53PM

What is your price?

Give me a call/text on 0729-158-411.

Thank you.
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
October 24, 2013 10:20AM
Hi i would like to know more on the garlic Farming, I tried the chinese ones n they germinated in a container in an apartment. i wish to try it again on a piece of land
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
November 14, 2013 01:21PM
Hi Phillip I would like to visit your farm if you are still growing the garlic kindly contact me via murimijoshu@gmail.com
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
November 20, 2013 09:53PM
Hello Kool Philip,

I am interested in Garlic farming and I would love if you can share some info on this farming. Can I visit your farm?

Thank you.

+254 704 524935
charles ndeto
Re: Garlic (Kitunguu Saumu)
December 02, 2013 09:40AM
Githaiga k Wrote:
> Hi,my name is Githaiga and i sell garlic bulbs for
> planting.infact my farmers register a 99%
> germination rate.You can reach me on 0729829532.

Hi Githaiga , as per your qoute can the bulbs grown near machakos town if planted during the rainy season?

Your Email:


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