When to plant
-Garlic can be grown in all zones. For higher yields and larger cloves, the best time to plant is Autumn. Don’t despair though – garlic can be planted during the year but the size of bulbs may be smaller.
Select & prepare your garlic
– Select varieties that grow well in your local climate zone.
– Chill garlic cloves in the fridge for a few weeks (this improves bulb development). You can skip this step but it helps grow bigger garlic.
– To prevent rotting in the soil, here’s a little tip: soak your cloves in a glass jar with equal quantities of baking soda to organic liquid seaweed for 2 hours. e.g. for 8-10 cloves (1 average bulb) = 1 tblspn baking soda: 1 tblspn seaweed. Increase quantity depending on number of cloves you’re planting.
Prepare your container or garden bed
– Garlic loves mulch to prevent weeds, provide protection, maintain soil moisture and keep soil cool longer.
– Companion planting: Garlic helps improve the health and growth of other plants including raspberries, beetroot, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, summer savoury & roses. On the flip side, never plant garlic near peas or beans.
-Timing: Ideally during autumn.
-Separate the garlic head into individual cloves – largest ones will be around the outside and are ideal for planting. Small inner cloves can be used for cooking.
– Container planting: Garlic grows 40-60 cm/15-24 in high depending on the variety and although you may not get as large bulbs in a pot, they are most definitely worth growing. As they are a long growing crop, interplant with fast growing lettuces and leafy greens around the outside. Pot depth should be at least 15 cm/6 in.
– Most importantly keep weeds at bay (garlic has a big appetite and doesn’t like competition)!
-Keep a record of when you plant so you know the time your garlic variety is likely to mature.
-Leave a few garlic heads in the soil rather than harvesting them all at this stage.
– If you need flavour before your garlic is fully grown, you can still harvest immature bulbs (they’ll look more like leeks)!
– To cure your garlic, hang in a dry, airy place in the shade or on racks to dry the bulbs for a couple of weeks (up to 4 weeks in cool zones).