Saturday 27 April 2013


Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Garlic is very simple to grow at home, even if you do not have much space in your garden.  You can plant either directly into the soil or into pots if you wish to save space.

There are many different varieties of garlic that you could select, but ensure you select a cultivated variety which is suitable for colder climates. This is because you should plant garlic in in mid-October as the cold weather helps to produce garlic with larger bulbs and more cloves.  If you wish to plant as late as April you can, but the garlic will be smaller.   

Do not plant supermarket bought garlic as they would have been treated with a chemical to prevent sprouting and will not tolerate cold conditions. Growing garlic from seed is not possible at present because viable seed is very difficult to produce.

Planting garlic

Garlic is best planted between November and April, although you will generally get a bigger crop if you plant it in the autumn. Select your variety of garlic according to their suitability for spring or autumn planting. 

Plant your garlic in a sunny position in full sun, in a well drained, light soil. Dig in plenty of of organic matter such as compost or well rotted manure.

Separate the bulb into single cloves and select the bigger, stronger cloves. The individual cloves should be planted 10-15 cm apart.  Plant in an upright position, tip pointing upwards.  Push the cloves into the soil so that the tip of each one is just below the surface. Water thoroughly.  

Protect your garlic from birds by hanging cd's or netting to protect your crop.

Harvesting garlic

Keep garlic well watered during dry weather, but ensure they are not water logged. If it's too dry for long periods the cloves will not swell and the resulting crop will have a short storage life.

The garlic is ready for harvesting around August/September depending on variety type. You need to lift them when they are ripe, as lifting too early will mean the bulbs are too small, and lifting them too late will diminish their taste. 

They are likely to be ready when the leaves start to turn brown. You can check if they are ready to harvest by removing a bulb and peeling off the papery layers surrounding the bulb; if you can remove three layers than it is ready to harvest, but if you can remove more than they are not ready so leave them for a few weeks.  

When lifting garlic, gently remove the bulb with a trowel to prevent bruising.  To store garlic bulbs successfully, wash and dry the bulbs and place in warm area to dry out. Once dried they can be stored for 3-4 months.

Growing garlic in pots

Select a suitable container and fill it with John Innes 'Seed and potting' compost. Separate the bulb into single cloves and place a single clove in each pot.  Plant in an upright position, tip pointing upwards, in a hole 3 cm below the soil.  Water thoroughly and place the container in a sunny position.  Feed the containers in the summer with general purpose plant food every two weeks.

For related articles click onto:
Feeding plants
Growing Garlic in Containers
Growing herbs
Growing herbs on a windowsill
Growing herbs in pots
Herbaceous borders
How to grow garlic
How to grow lavender
How to build a cold frame
How to grow basil
How to grow coriander
How to grow garlic
How to Grow Ginger
How to grow lavender
How to grow mint
How to grow parsley
How to grow rosemary
How to grow thyme
How to make compost
How to propagate using division
How to propagate from seed
Plants for free
Preparing a seed bed
Watering plants

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