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Growing GarlicGrowing Garlic

Garlic is a really healthy vegetable, and is popular in Mediterranean and Asian cooking, so it’s hardly surprising it has become popular to grow at home or down the allotment. Garlic is simple to grow and you’ll get plenty of fat, juicy garlic bulbs, if you grow in a sunny site.  Don’t be tempted to plant garlic cloves from the supermarket though, buy from a garden centre or mail order supplier.

 Benefits of Garlic

  • Daily doses may help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
  • Acts as a nasal decongestant.
  • Has antiviral and antibacterial properties

Drawback

  • Can make breath smell
  • May induce migraines
  • Occasionally causes contact dermatitis.
  • A member of the allium family that incudes onion and leeks so consider these when crop rotating.
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  Planting
  Growing Garlic
  Harvesting Garlic
  Garlic Varieties
  Problems
Planting Garlic

Planting Garlic outPlanting Garlic Out

How to Plant Garlic

Garlic grows well in any sunny, fertile site. For every square metre add 50g (2oz) of general-purpose fertiliser before planting, such as Growmore

It is best not to plant garlic cloves bought from a supermarket – they may carry disease and may not be suited to our climate. Instead, buy them from a garden centre or mail order supplier, these are available at the Seed Store.

Garlic is best planted in late autumn or early winter; the general rule of thumb is to plant cloves before Christmas, November if not too wet is an excellent month to plant your garlic.

The Planting Method

  • Break up the bulbs and plant individual cloves just below the soil surface 15cm (6in) apart and in rows 30cm (12in) apart
  • I like to run a string line across my plot where I want to plant my garlic, then I put a scoffold board down to kneel on so not to compact the earth too much.
  • Then using a dibber I make a hole large enough for the clove of garlic, never push garlic in to the soil without first making a hole as you can damage the clove.
  • Prevent birds from pulling up the cloves by covering the rows with horticultural fleece or netting till established.
Growing Garlic On

Garlic GrowingGarlic Growing

Growing Garlic

Garlic casts no shade and is vulnerable to being smothered by weeds. You can avoid this by removing weeds regularly before they become established.

Garlic does not need additional watering, although during spring and early summer an occasional thorough watering during dry spells will improve yields. Don’t water once the bulbs are large and well-formed, as this could encourage rotting.

Snip off any flowers that form – they seldom do.

Harvesting Garlic

Garlic GrowingGarlic Growing

garlic-topsetsExample of Garlic Topsets Click Me

Tips for Harvesting

  • Green leaves can be gathered green and used as a garnish or in salads, but the bulbs are harvested once the leaves have turned yellow.
  • Carefully lift them with a fork or hand fork.
  • Lay out the bulbs to dry in an airy place.
  • When rustling dry they can be stored in ventilated containers until you're ready to use them.
  • Often ‘top sets’ or garlic cloves form on the stalk. This is due to changeable weather in spring. Gather and use the top sets in the usual way.

 

 

Garlic Varieties

Garlic Varieties

Garlic Varieties available in our store: Click Here

There are two main types of garlic; Hardneck and Softneck see below for the characteristics for both.

Hardneck garlic is a group of cultivars selected from Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon originating from climates with colder winters. It has the following characteristics:

  • Flower stalks appear readily
  • Fewer, larger cloves covered with a looser tunic are produced
  • It is considered to have stronger and more interesting flavour
  • It is best gathered when the foliage has changed colour
  • It stores only until mid-winter

Softneck garlic (Allium sativum) generally produces smaller, more tightly-packet cloves;

  • Does not produce flower stalks unless stressed
  • It is best harvested when the foliage starts going over
  • It has better storage qualities than hardneck varieties
  • If autumn planted it will keep until mid- to late-winter
  • If planted in early spring softneck varieties it can be stored until mid-spring

Recommended Garlic to try

    • Early Purple Wight Garlic

      A robust early purple garlic that produces large bulbs as early as mid May in South of England, early June in the North. Use and enjoy this garlic within three months of harvest.
       
      Plant October to January, although early planting is best.
    • Elephant Garlic

      A fresh, juicy, mild sweet flavour. Ideal for baking and roasting.
       
      Each bulb is approx. 12.5-15cm (5-6") across.
       
      Not a true member of the garlic family, closer to leek, which it bears a close resemblance in flavour.
    • Lautrec Wight Garlic

      Produces beautiful flowering twists on stems. A delicacy pickled or stir-fried.
       
      Attractive white-skinned garlic with deep purple cloves and a creamy smooth flavour.
    • Picardy Wight Garlic

      A strong flavoured garlic that has a distinct pink hue in appearance.
       
      Approx. 15 cloves per 2 bulb pack. Plant in the spring.
    • Provence Wight Garlic

      Large white soft neck garlic that can produce bulbs that approach elephant garlic size. Sweet and substantial and will keep up to January. Large fat cloves that suit vegetable and fish dishes of the Mediterranean. Like many Mediterranean types, responds to heavy watering in the 3 months before harvest. Spring planting is possible although will produce smaller bulbs.
    • Red Donetsk Garlic

      Red Donetsk Garlic is a hardneck variety which has a beautiful purple striped appearance which comes from south eastern Ukraine. It is a vigorous type of plant which produces very large cloves. Once harvested, this garlic will keep until at least January. This is our strongest tasting garlic available.
    • Red Duke Garlic

      Red Duke Garlic is a hardneck variety with bright white skins with fierce and spicy flavours, which are the signatures of this exotic garlic from Czech Republic; with plump purple cloves. This variety of garlic is noted for being one of the very hot and strong varieties commonly planted in the UK.
    • Solent Wight Garlic

      An improved selection of Solent Wight, producing larger quality bulbs than many will have thought it not possible to grow. Long keeping to March and beyond next year. An aroma and bouquet without compare - giving excellent length and strength.
    • Tuscany Wight Garlic

      This Large white garlic is a late type. Widely grown in Tuscany where is suits warm summers and cooler winters compared with Southern Italy. Widely used in Umbrian dishes and with chicken.
    • Vallelado Garlic

      Originating from the north of Spain, this is a white garlic to be planted in the autumn or early spring. Unlike other Mediterranean white softnecks from Provence or southern Spain, it has excellent keeping qualities and is likely to do far better in our cooler climate. It should be ready to harvest end of June. 8-10 cloves per bulb.

 

Problems Growing Garlic

Gralic Problems

Problems Growing Garlic

Garlic is largely pest and disease free, but sometimes ‘rust’, a fungal disease of the foliage, can be damaging. If this happens, then grow garlic in a different part of the garden in future years and destroy all of the infected leaves.  White rot disease is present in some soils and attacks the roots. If this happens grow garlic in tubs of soil-based potting media, such as John Innes No3 compost

Onion white rot:

This fungus causes the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. Under wet conditions, the plants may not wilt but will become loose in the soil. If you lift them, you will see a white fluffy growth on the bulbs.

Remedy: Throw out any infected bulbs, and don’t grow leeks, onions or garlic in that spot again for at least eight years. This is a very persistent fungus that survives in the soil for a long time. There is no chemical control.

Leek Rust:

This is a fungal disease causing bright yellow spots on the leaves. It is often worse in long, wet spells.

Remedy: Mild attacks of rust won’t affect the plant, but serious infections may cause leaves to shrivel and affect yield. There is no control for rust once you have the infection. Make sure you don’t crowd plants as this increases both humidity and the likelihood of infection. Dispose of any badly affected plant material, and don’t grow garlic, leeks or onions in the same spot for three years.

Click Here for more information on leek rust

Growing Garlic: Flower Stalks Growing Garlic: Flower Stalks

Flower Stalks

Hardneck garlic cultivars readily produce flower stalks. The developing flowers should be removed as soon as they appear and can be used for stir fries. Softneck cultivars occasionally produce flower stalk if exposed to adverse growing conditions such as high temperatures or drought.

Birds:

These can be a problem, pulling the shallow-rooting plants out of the ground.

Remedy: Place chicken wire, fleece or plastic netting over plants to keep the birds off. They are usually not such a problem when the plants are older and growing strongly.

Pests:

Two leaf mining pests that can cause damage to the foliage of garlic and other members of the Allium family are the allium leaf-mining fly and leek moth.

 

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