Why Grow Garlic
Garlic is believed to have many health benefits. It also tastes great and adds flavour to lots of dishes. It is also easy enough to grow, requiring minimum maintenance. It is versatile in that it can be grown in the field, pots, containers or raised beds.
It is also good value for money. Each bulb contains approx 8 to 10 cloves. When planted, each clove will grow into a 1 fully grown bulb, ready to harvest around June to August next year.
Garlic bulbs are typically made up of about 8 to 10 cloves. The first step is to separate the bulbs into cloves as seen below.
Garlic grows best in fertile soil/compost in a spot that gets full sun, so keep this in mind when you are choosing the area to plant them.
The cloves go into the ground with the pointiest end facing the sky, and the rougher/flatter end touching the ground.
The cloves should be planted approx. 5cm (2 inches) deep, and spaced approx. 15cm (6 inches) apart.
This year I am going to try planting some in pots as I’ve not tried it before, you can see how I’m doing it below. I‘m actually planting them a little closer together than recommended (about 10cm/4 inches) so we’ll see what happens!
Mark the area where you plant the garlic as it takes a long time to grow to maturity (8 to 10 months). It can be easy to forget what/where you planted during that time!
Keep the garlic watered in the growing season during dry periods. Keep the area free from weeds as best you can too.
In the middle/end of the summer, your garlic will be ready to harvest. You’ll know its ready to harvest as the leaves will start to turn yellow/brown.
Curing & Storage
After you harvest garlic bulbs, brush the soil off them as best you can. Then allow them to dry out somewhere that is dry and airy for a couple of weeks. If the weather is fine it can be done outside. If not, it’ll need to be done under cover. You can tie the stalks of the garlic together and let them hang to dry. Or you can place the bulbs on a wire rack or something similar to allow them to dry.
Once they are fully dry, store them in a cool, dry place.
Elephant garlic is a little different to the regular garlic I have been speaking about above. They are actually different species, with elephant garlic being Allium ampeloprasum and regular garlic being Allium sativum.
The main differences are that elephant garlic bulbs are huge! They have a much milder flavour too. Elephant garlic for planting is sold by the clove. Take a look at the difference in size below. On the left is an elephant garlic clove, and on the right is a regular garlic clove.
The planting and growing directions for elephant garlic are the same as mentioned above, except a little more space can be left when planting elephant garlic cloves (20cm or 8 inches between cloves).
I hope you might have found this useful and you might give growing your own garlic a go this year.
Our range of garlic varieties for planting can be seen here.