Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow... it will thrive, and give you plenty of delicious meals if given the basics - food, water and plenty of sun.
Garlic is packed full of goodness, both health properties and intense flavour! what more could you ask for?
The best time to be planting Garlic cloves is mid May through to late July.
Garlic are hungry wee things, so preparing your soil is very important - dig in some sheep pellets, well rotted compost, and other goodies such as general purpose fertilizer and Lime, well before planting. You want your soil smelling nice and earthy.
It's also important to note that they require free draining soil. This is often an overlooked instruction, but is the most important one - without free draining soils, your Garlic will rot away, and you'll end up with nothing.
If you don't have free draining soil, you can grow them in mounds, pots, or raised beds.
Planting your Garlic
- Firstly, you need to Break up each bulb into their individual cloves. It's the cloves that you plant, and not the whole Bulb. Don't peel the cloves.
- Ensure that the area you have selected is free draining, has plenty of sun, and has all of the nutrients already added in (Sheep pellets, Compost etc)
- Bury each clove to a depth of around 5cm below the surface of the soil. Planting too shallow will generally cause problems with plants falling over, pulling the whole plant out of the ground.
- Space your Garlic cloves around 15cm apart - if you plant them too close, they'll end up being scrawny little things. Too much space and you'll end up with weeds coming out of your ears!
- Shoots will begin to emerge around a Month after planting.
It's important to keep the area around your Garlic as weed free as possible - Garlic are one of those varieties that need all the nutrients they can get, and don't like to be fighting with weeds to obtain it. Weeds also block sunlight, and can cause diseases.
Keep on top of the weeds by scratching the weeds up when they're still small, with a hand hoe or similar.
Harvesting your Garlic..
For big, juicy, delicious Garlic Bulbs with a long shelf life you need to harvest them at their prime. You know harvesting time is near once the tops begin to dry off and turn brown.
To check on whether your Garlic Bulbs are ready, have a little dig around, and see how the Bulbs are looking... you're wanting a perfectly formed, decent sized Bulb. Not formed yet? then you're too early. Continue doing this until the Bulbs have formed beautifully.
Generally speaking, once the tops are completely dry, then you're a bit late, which is why we recommend keeping an eye on them and checking the Bulb formation.
Harvest your Garlic on a nice dry day, as we want them to be able to cure easily. Gently rub off the soil, leaving the skin intact. Hang in small bunches, or in a mesh bag, in a cool, dry area, with plenty of air movement.
Once they’re dry, you can trim the roots and the tops. It's important to leave the skin of the Bulbs on, as this will help to protect the inner cloves.