How to Grow Garlic at Home. Garlic is a common ingredient in the kitchen. When contemplating growing this bulb, romantic Gallic images of long knotted bulbs can be intimidating. Garlic, on the other hand, is a surprisingly simple crop to grow – and now is a good time to plant.
We spoke with industry experts to get their tips on growing garlic in your garden. This adaptable crop can be grown in containers or beds, making it ideal for any size garden. Learn when to plant garlic to enjoy its tasty bulbs all year. It is also worthwhile to learn how to store garlic in order to keep your bulbs fresh and flavorful for a longer period of time.
What Kind of Garlic Should I Grow?
True garlic (Allium sativum) comes in soft-neck and hard-neck varieties. Softneck varieties (such as ‘Messidor’) store for a year and have pliable necks that can be plaited, making them great decor for the larder. Hardneck varieties (such as ‘Sprint’) have a stronger flavour, can be grown in very cold climates, are harvested earlier, and produce edible flower stems known as scapes. However, they are only available until spring. Growing both types ensures a year-round supply of delicious garlic. Garlic is the most common type of garlic found in supermarkets and is the easiest to grow.
Softneck garlic yields a large number of smaller cloves and can be stored for months Hardneck bulbs, on the other hand, are hardier and thus a better choice if your garden experiences very cold winters. Softneck garlic varieties to consider include ‘Provence’ and ‘Solent Wight.’ Look for ‘Lautrec Wight’ and ‘Carcasonne’ varieties of hard-neck garlic.
‘When purchasing garlic to grow, it is best to avoid supermarkets because these varieties are not disease-free. Instead, go to a garden centre or order online,’ advises Francesco Ponziani, Horticulturist at RHS Garden Harlow Carr.
Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is a distinct plant. It looks like a large leek but has a mild garlic flavour and produces a few large cloves (which can sometimes be difficult to divide). This intriguing leek-like vegetable grows well in sunny gardens in high-rainfall areas.
Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Garlic:
Prepare the Ground
Garlic is a simple crop to grow if you follow the instructions carefully. ‘Garlic requires an open, sunny position and well-drained soil,’ Francesco explains. Before planting the garlic bulbs or well-rotted manure, add plenty of garden compost. ‘If your soil is very heavy clay, add grit or plant bulbs in containers instead,’ suggests Kate Turner, Miracle-Gro Gardening Guru. (Opens in a new window)
Garlic crops can easily be grown in a container such as a Vegepod or a Vegebag(opens in new tab), which won the RHS Chelsea Flower Show product of the year 2020. It can also be planted between other crops to help them thrive while also deterring pests with its strong odour.
Build The Bulbs
Before planting the bulbs, you must separate them into individual cloves. Plant each clove 10 to 15 cm apart, with a 30 cm space between rows.
Francesco recommends using a 9cm pot when planting in a container. Plant each clove in its own container. Make sure that each clove is planted with the tip of the clove visible above the soil. After planting, water to help the soil settle around the bulb.
Cover The Bulb as It Greens
As soon as seedlings appear, Kate Turner advises covering the area with horticultural fleece or cloches to prevent birds from removing them. She said that after the plants get bigger, birds will find them less attractive and the protection can be taken away. Water the garlic bulbs as they develop. However, as soon as a bulb appears, irrigation should be stopped.
Offset The Scape
Hardneck garlic cultivars produce stalks, commonly referred to as scapes, from the centre of the plant. Since the majority of garlic is produced for its bulbs, removing the scape will result in a 20% larger bulb. According to Francesco, cutting off the escape will cause all of the energy to go into growing the bulb rather than blossoms and seeds. “This can result in a 20% increase in bulb size.” You can skip this step if you plan to use garlic flowers in your cooking; their mild flavour makes them a nice addition to salads and sauces. But it’s best to get rid of the flower before it opens.
Picking Up The Garlic
You can pick a few leaves here and there from the plants to use in salads while the garlic is growing. However, Kate cautions, “don’t take too many at any time from one plant.” The bulb will have fully formed with curves surrounding the cloves, and some (but not all) of the leaves will have yellowed. Garlic can be harvested as soon as the leaf turns brown. When is garlic harvested? Typically, this happens between early June and late August. The best advice from Francesco is to collect garlic on a warm summer day.
To allow the freshly excavated bulbs to dry out, he advises harvesting garlic on a hot, sunny day if at all possible. Supporting preservation. Charles Dowding(opens in new tab), a gardener and author who teaches no-dig edibles gardening in Somerset, UK, says it’s best to harvest your garlic before the leaves turn yellow. For soft-neck garlic, that means roughly around the end of June.
In actuality, the majority of the leaves will still be green. July middle is perhaps the best time for hard-neck garlic. Verify that you can feel the cloves distinguishing around the developing bulb with your fingers or a shovel. To cut enough roots with a trowel or knife so that you can gently remove the entire plant out without breaking off the stem, slide the trowel or knife diagonally downward.
Trim the roots after removing all of the soil. Ripe bulbs shouldn’t be left in the ground for too long or they may decay. Dry it thoroughly, keeping it out of direct sunlight, and then store it indoors, somewhere cool, dry, and with excellent airflow. It can be hung or put in baskets.
What is the Length of Garlic Growth?
Before you can harvest the garlic bulbs, the bulbs may take close to ten months to grow. They might be ripe from early June to late July, depending on the type you planted in the fall.
When do you Spread Garlic?
When do you plant garlic? Fall is the ideal time to sow garlic. For the bulbs to grow, a period of cold weather is required. For the bulbs to develop, they ideally need a period of one to two months at a temperature of 0 to 10 degrees. If it is too chilly outside in the fall, you can plant them in the spring instead. According to my observations, garlic planted in the fall matures four to six weeks earlier than garlic sown in the spring.
Can Garlic Grow Year-Round?
Growing garlic as a perennial will yield garlic every year. It is typically cultivated as an annual and replanted every year because it is grown for its bulbs. If you decide to grow garlic as a perennial, you will need to wait a few years for the bulbs to mature and grow before harvesting the tastier leaves and blooms. You should be able to dig up your homegrown garlic in a few years, replant it, and then use the techniques above to create your own garlic bulbs.