Thursday, 6 May 2010

Growing Guide - Garlic

Garlic is not everyone's favourite, we all know someone - or ARE someone - who says "Eugh, Garlic? No Thanks" but as many cooks out there know some garlic in a dish is a great way to bring out the flavours of the
other ingredients, and it doesn't need to stink out the kitchen! Others love the idea of the garlic hanging in their kitchen in the plaits or wreaths, never to be used just to decorate. So whatever your reason for growing Garlic I know you will find it an easy and rewarding plant to grow!

Time to Plant Out

Garlic is planted straight out into the garden, there is no need to start it off under glass or on that trusty window sill! You are best to plant out your garlic cloves in the Autumn as this allows the best chance of the bulbs being subjected to some cold weather and frost. Garlic likes to be made cold and this 'chill' will give a good bulb formation the following year.

If your soil is prone to becoming water-logged then you may decide that the best time to plant out is January or February, to catch the cold but miss the rain! Alternatively you can add some horticultural sand to your soil to try and aid drainage.

When you are ready to plant split the bulb into the individual cloves and ensure each one is planted with the pointed end upwards. Make sure that the cloves are planted 2.5-5cm (1-2inches) deep and around 15cm (6 inches apart). Bulbs can be bought from you garden centre or from online sellers or catalogues. Supermarket bought stuff... you can give it a go but success rates will vary as many supermarket types are not suitable for this climate. The bulbs from the garden centre are not expensive and you will be guaranteeing a good crop.

If you plant out in the Autumn you will begin to see growth by January and in Spring some high nitrogen feed can be beneficial. During its growing period garlic likes a good amount of water but you should tail this off around May as the foliage starts to die back and the plant finishes its growing.

Harvest Time

Once the foliage is almost completely withered, around May and June, it is time to lift the bulbs. Make sure this is done on a nice sunny day so you can leave the bulbs on the surface of the soil for a day to dry out. If rain is likely to be a problem them move the bulbs into a greenhouse or cold frame to dry for a couple of days.

After this the bulb is ready to store. If you wish to create a display from your Garlic then remember to keep the stems intact.

Problems and Issues

There isn't much that can disturb your garlic. Water logging and/or over watering at the wrong time can cause the bulbs to rot. Beware sheep, this was our only problem, sheep apparently like garlic plants, so if you have a bad case of sheep infestation then things may turn out bad!

Growing Guide at a Glance
Sow -In
Sow -Out


  1. My garlic leaves got terribly burnt in the fire so I don't know that I will get any decent garlic...also as the leaves already look totally withered from the heat i don't know when to harvest...HHMMM????

  2. I have always planted my garlic in the spring in the past, but after a disasterous crop last year I planted my current crop in the autumn. Going well so far, so hoping for bumper crop this year!

  3. What?! (she says incredulously...) There are people out there who don't like garlic? I can't even imagine...
    I love garlic so much, it has become one of my very favorite crops to grow! So glad you're growing it, too! :-)


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