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Have you ever grown your own garlic? It’s such an easy crop to grow!
Garlic 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.
When to plant garlic
You can plant *garlic in autumn or spring. Apparently autumn-planted varieties tend to be more successful and produce larger bulbs. I’ve always planted my garlic in autumn, mainly because it’s one less crop to get started in the madness of spring planting!
If you’d like to have a go, here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to plant garlic.
How to grow your own garlic
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.
Can you plant garlic cloves from the grocery store?
Ideally you should buy *garlic bulbs from the garden centre or a seed supplier, as they will be certified virus-free and more likely to grow well. Having said that, I have planted supermarket-bought garlic in the past and it has grown. The bulbs were on the small side, but they were perfectly usable. I would say that if you can’t make a special trip to the garden centre give it a try!
How deep do you plant garlic?
Break up your bulb of garlic into individual cloves, then plant each clove about an inch below the surface of the soil. Make sure the pointy end of each clove is facing up.
Depending on your garlic variety you will need to leave 10-15cm space between cloves. It’s always worth checking the packaging for the variety you’re growing, to make sure you get this bit right.
Once your garlic cloves are all in place, all you need to do 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.
When to harvest garlic
Given that garlic grows underground, you might be wondering how you know when garlic is ready to harvest. Autumn-planted garlic will be ready for harvesting around July next year. Spring-planted garlic will be ready to harvest slightly later.
Garlic is ready to harvest when the foliage turns yellow. If you’re not sure whether it’s ready, just dig up one plant to see what size the bulb is – if you’re careful, you can have a quick look and re-plant if necessary.
When you’re ready to harvest your garlic, lift the bulbs gently with a fork. Lay them out in a single layer to dry off, a well-ventilated greenhouse or shed is ideal for this. It will take around two to four weeks for the bulbs to dry out, obviously this is very much dependent on the weather.
You might like to check out this video from Gardener’s World in which Monty Don talks you through how to harvest garlic.
Once all the foliage is showing no signs of moisture, you can cut the stalks off and store – or eat! – your garlic bulbs.
And that’s it, a quick how to grow garlic guide that will hopefully give you a lovely crop of garlic for your cooking next summer. Will you be growing your own garlic this year?
For more ideas on what to plant at this time of year take a look at this month’s What to Plant now post.