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. Read on to find out how to do it.
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What type of garlic should you plant?
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.
Can you plant supermarket Garlic?
You can plant cloves from a bulb bought in a supermarket but supermarket garlic may have viruses and these can infect your soil and can be impossible to irradiate. That’s why you’re advised to plant virus-free gloves from a garden supplier. That said I have planted organic garlic from the farmers market and harvested a successful crop.
How to plant garlic
Don’t worry if you don’t have a veg bed, just plant your garlic cloves in a pot of loam based peat-free compost, or some peat-free compost mixed with garden soil.
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 your garlic plant flowers develop or the leaves get rust on them, just cut both of them off. Flowers, called scapes, can be fried and eaten if harvested unopened. While leaves with rust should go into an industrial composter or black bin. Don’t put them on your own compost heap.
Garlic needs a period of about 6 weeks of temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius for a clove to multiply and form a bulb so you won’t be harvesting these bulbs until next summer.
You’ll know it’s time to harvest your garlic when the leaves have started to die. Some people suggest waiting until 2/3rds of the leaves have turned brown before doing so, but I’d harvest as and when I need bulbs once I start to see the leaves starting to brown or when the weather suits drying of the bulbs.
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.
Other Grown your Own Articles
Check out my other grown-your-own articles
- Growing Fruit & Veg: Design and Layout
- Growing Fruit & Veg: Raising seedlings,
- Growing Fruit & Veg: Planting Seedlings Outdoors
- Growing Fruit & Veg: Feeding & Watering
- Wildlife Friendly Gardening
- Sustainable Gardening Hacks
- Guide to Composters and Composting
- Choosing and Installing a Rainwater Butt