Growing your own garlic is is a good place to start if you are new to vegetable gardening. Home grown garlic is very easy to grow as well as having some amazing health benefits. Along with being easy to grow garlic also takes up very little space and is rarely affected by any pests or disease.
In this article you’ll discover how to plant garlic, planting times and distances as well as how to tell exactly when your garlic is ready for harvesting.
Some people plant garlic cloves bought from the supermarket in their garden and this is a mistake that should be avoided, cloves bought from the supermarket for eating may not be suitable for our climate and may well carry diseases that can cause problems for years to come.
How To Plant Garlic Bulbs
It’s worth noting that garlic loves to be grown in very free draining soil, any sustained wet conditions will lead to the bulbs rotting.
Adding a handful of blood, fish and bone fertiliser for every square metre of growing area will give the plants everything they will need to grow.
Buying your cloves from a garden centre or online is very important to guarantee a good harvest.
Garlic is best planted in late autumn or very early winter. October and November are the best months for planting but it’s possible to get a fine crop from garlic planted in December and January. I find early autumn gives the cloves a few weeks to get established before the really cold winter weather comes in.
Looking After The Crop & Harvesting
The good thing about garlic is that they really do not need watering. In many cases watering garlic regularly can lead to rot rather than improving the crop.
As with onions regular weeding is important. The lack of leaves that garlic plants have do mean that weeds can quickly compete against the plants and steal the nutrients that the garlic plants really need to thrive. Pulling weeds as soon as you see them is the best method but a good weeding is fine if a more hands-off approach is desired.
Garlic bulbs are harvested when the leaves of the plant have died off and turned a crispy yellow. Depending on the planting time this can be in June, July or into August.
The plants should be kept somewhere dry for several weeks to dry out. Removing as much moisture from the bulbs as possible is important as this prevents rot that may happen in storage.
When it comes to storage the bulbs can be tired together by their stems and should be kept somewhere free of damp and with good ventilation. Checking the bulbs once a month to remove any that may have rotted will stop this spreading to the other bulbs.
Overall, garlic are really a worthwhile crop to grow. The taste of the garlic is usually far superior to those bought in the supermarket and they will last all year. It’s hard to find an easier crop to grow.