Garlic provides real health benefits and is a good choice of crop for beginners to plant and grow. Garlic should be planted around mid October to November, why not have a look at our handy guide on growing your own garlic.
Garlic is a member of the onion family. We tend to think of garlic as a crop for sunshine countries but it grows well in the UK as long as you use the right bulbs and plant in full sun. It is important to buy varieties suitable for our weather, hardier varieties such as ‘White Pearl’ can be found at your local garden centre.
- Garlic is a doddle to grow – just pop the cloves into the ground or a pot, flat end down, so the pointy bit is just under the soil surface.
- Space them about 20cm (8in) apart.
- A well-drained and cultivated soil will give best results and a week or so before planting give the soil a dose of general-purpose fertiliser. Garlic doesn’t need too rich a soil but it will rot in water-logged soil.
Limited care is needed of the garlic however you should feed the soil in March and May with a general fertiliser. Keep the area free of weeds and make sure you water in dry conditions.
They will produce green foliage around April. The garlic is normally ready to harvest when the foliage has turned yellowy-brown. This will usually be mid-August time but beware that it may be earlier if we have a wet summer.
Gently ease them out of the ground using a trowel to loosen the surrounding soil but be careful not to bruise them with the trowel.
Things to look out for:
- Birds can be a problem when the shoots appear - you may need to keep them at bay with netting.
- If you leave the garlic too long before harvesting the cloves can split apart and storage will be a problem.
- Sometimes the plants produce a flower spike. Carefully snip this off as if you leave them the plant puts energy into seed rather than fattening the cloves.
- If the weather is particularly warm and wet use a spray such as Dithane as the garlic can be affected by rust.