Garlic can be planted in the Autumn through until the end of spring. It is relatively easy to grow and can be categorised into two main types; hardneck and softneck, this refers simply to the way the garlic grows.
Hardneck varieties produce a flower stem which can be used in a variety of culinary delights. They also produce garlic bulbs although these don't tend to store as well as a softneck variety; hardneck varieties do have unique qualities though which depend on variety.
Softneck varieties don't produce a flower stem but they do store for much longer.
Garlic needs full sun and well drained soil in order to grow well so it's important to dig in plenty of compost/well rotted organic matter, not
only will this help the soil grow but it will also provide plenty of nutrients that will enable your garlic to flourish; note that garlic does not tolerate water logged soil at all. Split the garlic you have into individual cloves and plant each clove in a row about one inch below the soil and four inches apart from each other. If you're planting more than one row, then rows should be spaced about 12 inches apart. As with growing sets/bulbs, during the initial rooting period, it will be important to inspect your rows periodically because birds can be good at removing freshly planted cloves. You can prevent birds undoing your hard work by covering your freshly planted garlic with netting and provide an alternative food for them nearby in bird feeders.
Caring for Garlic
As with all crops, it's important that crop rotation is adhered to and that the same crop is not grown in the same place with in, as a rule of thumb, we recommend three years. Garlic doesn't need much water, in fact, garlic should only really be watered during periods where there is a prolonged dry spell.
Garlic can be harvested as early as June if planted in the Autumn and later depending on when it was planted. Once the leaves start to die off, wither and turn yellow your garlic is ready and can be removed by gently lifting the bulbs with a fork or trowel, being careful not to damage the bulbs in the process. Brush off any loose dirt and lay your garlic out to dry before storing, note that it's important not to leave your garlic in the ground too long once it's ready or it will not last long when storing.
We have a selection of garlic bulbs in stock around about January to March ready for planting:
A strong flavoured French garlic.
A strong flavoured garlic that's extremely good for storing.
A medium flavoured garlic with an ivory white skin.
A garlic with a distinct flavour that's great for storing.