Grow Your Own Garlic
Garlic is fairly low maintenance and does not need much space, making it easy to grow.
It will happily grow in a pot or container on your patio.
There are many varieties available for planting outdoors in either Spring or Autumn.
The two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck varieties.
Hardneck varieties produce an edible flower stem (often called a ‘scape’), which can be used in salads and stir fries.
Softneck varieties don’t produce the stem, but the bulbs can be stored for longer than their hardneck cousins.
These are some of the most popular varieties
Elephant garlic is planted in spring or autumn for very large bulbs with a mild flavour making them ideal for roasting.
Thermidrome is very reliable French garlic with a medium flavour. Spring or Autumn planting. This is an early variety that is high yielding.
Germidour is a soft neck variety. Mild flavour with violet cloves. A superb addition to your vegetable patch.
Topadrome is a soft neck variety. It has white skin and white cloves. Ideal for early harvesting. A superb addition to your vegetable patch.
When to plant
Garlic cloves are best planted between November and April, although you will generally get a bigger and better crop if you plant in the autumn. Many gardeners swear by planting before Christmas to get the best results.
Where to plant
When choosing a suitable area, keep in mind that garlic prefers a position in full sun with well-drained, light soil.
Remember crop rotation is very important. Garlic shouldn’t be planted in soil that’s recently been used for garlic, or indeed for any other plants from the allium family.
How to grow great garlic
Garlic bulbs like light, nutrient-rich soil. Ensure to dig in plenty of organic matter such as compost or recycled green waste before planting.
- Carefully split the bulb into individual cloves.
- Plant each clove just below the surface of the soil (about 2.5cm deep) with the pointed end facing up. They should be around 15cm apart.
- For several rows of garlic, space the rows roughly 30cm apart. This will give them plenty of space and help with weeding.
You don’t need an allotment or big garden to grow garlic. It is happy in pots or containers on a patio.
- Choose containers at least 25cm in diameter and depth to allow for good root growth.
- Fill your container with multi-purpose compost and incorporate some specialist onion fertiliser.
- Plant each clove at a depth of 2.5cm and space them about 10-15cm apart. Allow space for the bulbs to grow, do not plant them too close to the pot edge.
- Keep the compost moist, especially during dry spells.
Autumn-planted garlic will be ready to harvest in June/July and spring-planted garlic will be ready a little later. Simply wait until the leaves have started to wither and turn yellow, and then loosen the bulbs from the soil.
Do not leave the bulbs in the ground too long after the leaves have withered as the bulbs are likely to re-sprout and may rot when stored.
Before storing them, lay the garlic bulbs out in a warm and dry area. Any dry soil left on the bulbs can be gently brushed off. Garlic bulbs can be stored for up to three months in good condition.
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