This week I’ve been planting garlic at the allotment. Garlic is a great crop to grow; it doesn’t take up much space, it’s not very fussy, and there are lots of different varieties available for you to experiment with. It’s also a great crop to involve children with too because it’s easy and fun to plant.
This year we’re growing three heritage garlic varieties from Marshalls. Bohemian Rose comes from the north of Bohemia near to Prague and produces leaves over a metre high, which the kids will really enjoy measuring as it grows. Mikulov originates in southern Moravia and produces violet coloured bulbs with very large cloves. Red Duke is a vigorous variety with good resistance to rust and viruses. I really like the idea of growing more than one variety of garlic and comparing their flavours, we’ve not done this before so this year will hopefully give us plenty of crops to experiment with in our cooking.
You can plant garlic in autumn or spring, autumn-planted varieties tend to be more successful and produce larger bulbs. If you’d like to have a go at growing garlic here’s what to do.
First of all, prepare the ground that you’ll be planting into. Remove any weeds, dig over the soil and rake the surface to even it out.
Use a trowel to create a shallow trench in a straight line – it helps to use a string line like I have in the picture, but don’t worry too much about getting it perfectly straight.
Break up your bulb of garlic into individual cloves. Plant each clove about an inch below the surface of the soil, with the pointy end facing up. Depending on your garlic variety you will need to leave 10-15cm between cloves, check the packaging for your variety.
All you need to do then is fill the trench back in so that the cloves sit just below the surface of the soil. Water the row well after planting but don’t water again over winter. Keep on top of any weeds that emerge as these will inhibit the growth of your crop.
Autumn-planted garlic will be ready for harvesting around July next year, when the foliage starts to turn yellow.
And that’s it, a quick gardening job for autumn that will give you a lovely crop of garlic for your cooking next summer. Are you going to plant garlic this autumn?
For more ideas on what to plant at this time of year take a look at this month’s What to Plant now post.