Tips for Growing Big Garlic
The Garlic plant (Allium Sativum) likes a light soil and a position in full sun. The cloves or offsets should be planted individually. A soil that has been manured for a previous crop is OK. Planted in October it will be ready for lifting in August when the tops go yellow. Planted in march it will be ready in October.
- To get one big clove of garlic instead of several smaller ones plant the cloves in March. Otherwise plant in October early November.
- Plant garlic cloves under roses â€“ it helps with the scent of the roses and gives you more space in the vegetable garden.
- Start off the cloves in 3â€ pots and plant out on May 6-8â€ apart
- Grow the Garlic in a large pot in the sun and give it TLC.
- Rake in fish blood and bone just before planting and dress with sulphur and nitrogen fertiliser in spring
Artichoke garlic tends to have fewer but larger cloves and a milder flavour. The artichoke garlic bulb skins are coarser than those of silverskins and sometimes have purple blotches
Donâ€™t grow garlic in the same place year on year
Try Elephant garlic (allium ampeloprasum)one of several varieties now available. â€˜The plant itself is a splendid addition to any herbaceous border or garden bed, producing a flowering head 5ft tall. Each bulb is approximately 5-6 inches across, harvested in July. Excellent for Roasting – Very impressive and less pungent.http://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/garlicabout.asp â€™
The French, Italians and good cooks love garlic and it is not a hard vegetable to grow.
Top Tricks to Get Good Garlic
Start with good quality cloves of a variety that is appropriate for your taste and location. Here is our top ten selection.
The outer cloves give the best new plants. Use the inner cloves for cooking.
Keep Garlic plants well watered, it is a misconception that they like it hot and dry.
Add Sulphate of potash to encourage root (bulb) growth rather than fertilising for more leaves.
For big bulbs with a mild flavour try some Elephant Garlic.
Planting to Grow Great Garlic
Plant in an open sunny site.
The soil should be verging on alkaline and be well drained.
After planting garlic needs at least 7 weeks in a cool temperature to get good bulb development. Plant in November- February depending on the named variety.
On heavier soils or in the North of the UK, plant in modules or pots and overwinter in a cold frame before planting out.
Plant cloves with their tips 2â€³ below the surface of the soil and 6â€³ apart.
If the garlic starts to flower cut off the stem as soon as it has started to â€˜Loopâ€™ or curl.
How to Crop and Save Garlic
Autumn or winter sown garlic should be ready to harvest in early summer as soon as the leaves start to fade or turn yellow
Early spring sown garlic are harvested from mid-summer through to early autumn. Do not leave bulbs in the soil too long they can split apart.
Pick firm bulbs and dry off leaving a few inches of stalk.
Store in an airy dry garage or hang bunches of cloves in the kitchen.
The bulbs need to be whole, covered and intact to store well. I even leave some clean dry roots on.
More Tricks for Garlic Experts
Allium sativum is the soft neck Garlic also called Italian Garlic or Silverskin Garlic. This has the strongest flavour.
Allium ophioscorodon or Stiffneck garlic has 8- 10 cloves and is also called Bavarian Garlic, Porcelain Garlic or Purple stripe garlic.
White skinned and purple skinned varieties both store well and are relatively free of pests.
Donâ€™t expect all varieties to do well in your area, some may not bulb up others may rot if there is inadequate drainage.
Give your garlic some TLC and keep the area weed free.
To buy a selection of Garlic at Thompson & Morgan click here.
Photo credit garlic by Muffet CC2.0 generic