It happens all to often. We have the best of intentions and then life interrupts. We swore we’d start growing veg this year and never quite got around to it. Well it’s not too late so I’m setting you a challenge; before Hallowe’en plant some garlic. They’re super easy to grow and now is the perfect time to plant them. You don’t even need a veg patch, a container will do fine.
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You can plant cloves from a bulb bought in a supermarket but if it has any viruses in it these can infect your soil and can be impossible to irradiate. You’ll find garlic gloves in most garden centres now, including Mr Middleton on Mary St, D2 and from Quickcrop,ie, or the Organic Centre
There are two main varieties of garlic, hardnecked and softnecked. Hardnecked are said to do better in colder climates, while softnecked are said to store better.
Garlic needs a period of about 6 weeks of temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius for a clove to multiply and form a bulb so it’s this is the perfect time to plant it. All going well you will be able to harvest your garlic bulbs early-summer – Autumn, when 2/3rds of the leaves have turned brown.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a veg bed, just plant them in a pot of quality compost instead. If you can find peat-free compost pick that instead of the standard one. By doing so you’ll be helping to protect our bogs which absorb carbon dioxide from the air helping to reduce the effect of climate change.
Just plant individual garlic cloves about an inch deep with the fatter end of the bulb at the bottom. Space your cloves 2 to 4 inches apart but if you want bigger bulbs you can increase the spacing (this works for all veg by the way). Give them a good drink whenever there’s a week without rain, otherwise leave them be.
If flowers develop on your bulb just cut them off and if the leaves get rust on them, don’t worry it won’t affect the bulb. Just cut off the infect leaves and put in your black bin – not your brown bin or your compost heap.
You can use your garlic straight from the ground or if you’d like harvest and store them just leave in a dark dry place to dry out completely. You’ll find more detailed description on how to cure garlic for storing on the Gardening Know How website.