Garlic is so easy to grow and can be used in so many dishes, it’s also a plucky little plant growing through the harshest winters, in fact it’s the first frost that signals it’s time to start growing.
There are two types to choose from:
- Generally hardier, so better for northern gardens.
- It makes a flower stem in early summer, called a scape, which can be cut off and used in stir-fries or salads.
- Hardnecks produce fewer cloves, but they’re usually bigger.
- Best for milder climates.
- It doesn’t produce scapes.
- Quicker to mature than hardneck and stores for longer.
How to grow garlic:
Garlic likes a free-draining, fertile soil in a sunny position.
It can get a disease called rust, the leaves turn a blotchy with rust so the plant can’t photosynthesize and grow. Avoid planting it where any other onion type plants have been grown for the last two years and it’ll be less vulnerable.
Separate the bulb into individual cloves,
Push them into weed-free soil with the point end upwards and the tip completely covered by soil.
They should be 15cm apart in rows that are 20cm apart
Growing garlic in containers:
I’m planting my garlic at the allotment and also in a container at home.
The container needs to be 20cm across x 20cm deep
Use a mix of John Innes No2 compost & multi purpose compost
Each clove needs a good 20cm space around it to grow
Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, it’s likely to dry out in the spring.
It’s ready in the summer when the leaves begin to turn yellow.
Carefully dig them up with a trowel, damaging the bulb means it won’t store for very long.
Lay them out to dry in the sun, if it’s wet dry them in a shed or greenhouse.
Brush off any loose soil and store them somewhere dry.
image: Jill Anderson