Garlic is a relatively easy prospect to grow at home and its versatility makes it a great addition to a kitchen garden. It can be used to enhance and add strong flavour to a wide variety of dishes and can also be useful as a pest deterrent.

Growing garlic:

Garlic is grown from cloves which are best planted in the late autumn or early winter, ideally some time before Christmas. While some people claim to have had great success growing cloves from supermarket bulbs, this is not really a good idea as these can suffer from diseases and introduce unknowns to your garden which could cause big problems for you in the future. What is more they may not be suited to the climate in this country. Buy cloves from a good garden centre or plant nursery to be sure that you are getting cloves of good quality.

Break up the bulbs and plant the cloves individually just under the soil surface. You should plant the cloves around 15cm apart and leave around 30cm between the rows. It is best to choose a sunny and fertile site. Birds are sometimes known to lift the bulbs – if you have this problem then you can cover the bed with horticultural fleece.

Weeds are an enemy to garlic. Make sure to weed the area well before planting and once the cloves are planted, cover with a mulch. Fallen leaves are available at the right time of year and make a great blanket for your garlic over the winter months before they sprout in the spring. Remove any weeds that do appear regularly to make sure your garlic does not have to compete for nutrients.

Garlic should not need to be watered much. Though in spring and early summer an occasional watering during periods of particularly dry weather can improve your yield. Do not water at all once the bulbs are large and fully formed as this could cause rotting problems.

Green garlic leaves can be used throughout the spring and early summer as a salad garnish and the bulbs are harvested once the remaining leaves have turned yellow and flopped over between June and August. Bulbs can be lifted gently with the aid of a garden fork.

Why grow garlic in the garden?

Garlic is not only a useful and versatile ingredient for the kitchen, it is also a very useful companion plant which can deter and confuse a range of common garden plants. It helps and can be planted alongside a whole range of vegetables and other plants.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Allium sativum