We love to grow garlic, it’s an easy crop but does require a little bit of care to get the results you’re looking for. With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 tips for growing great garlic so without further ado, here we go:
1 Garlic for growing is very different from shop bought varieties as most supermarket garlic won’t be suitable for growing in Northern Europe. Make sure you buy high quality seed garlic rather than supermarket varieties.
2 Prepare your soil well. Garlic is easy to grow but it does like a good rich soil. Add plenty of well rotted garden compost to your soil before you plant. Plant in the sunniest spot in your garden.
3 Garlic needs a period of cold for about six weeks of at least below 10 degrees celcius. Plant too late in the Spring and the clove will grow but will never form a bulb of individual cloves. As a rule of thumb plant Autumn varieties between October and December. Spring types are planted between January and early April at the latest.
4 Hardneck or Softneck? Hardnecks grow a flower stalk and have a stronger flavour than more common softneck varieties. Softnecks are milder in taste and are the type available in most shops.
5 Break a full garlic bulb into the individual cloves. Don’t break up the bulbs longer than 24 hours before you want to plant and handle them with care to avoid bruising.
6 Plant 6 inches apart 3-4cm below the surface with the point end facing up. Keep the ends just below soil level as birds are liable to pull them up.
7 The largest bulbs grow from the largest cloves. The fatter cloves forming a circle around the inner ring are best, use the thinner internal cloves for cooking.
8 A sprinkle of wood ash or a dressing of well composted manure in February will give your garlic a Springtime boost.
9 The best garlic growing weather is plenty of moisture till mid June followed by drier weather towards harvest time. Water your garlic in a dry Spring.
10 You’ll know when it’s time to harvest your garlic but Hardnecks and softnecks are different. Hardnecks are ready when the leaves start to change colour and softnecks when the leaves wilt and lie on the ground.
For more detailed information on growing garlic including our video with Klaus Laitenberger see our Growing Garlic post here.