Not too many vegtables like to be planted during autumn but Garlic is one of them. Garlic is rewarding to grow, generally hardy and easy to care for.
Garlic love an open an sunny location in the garden or allotment and with enough space to allow good airflow. Garlic does not do so well in acid soil of below a pH of 6.5. If you do have acidic soil, a bit of lime during autumn and winter can help. Adding some well-rotted organic matter will also add to getting a good crop.
Planting out in October and November give the garlic cloves a few months of cold temperatures (0-10°C) which will help the bulb to develop well. Cloves should be planted with the flat base pointing down and with 15cm between cloves and 30cm between rows. The clove tip should be around 2.5cm below the surface.
If you have heavy and wet soil it can be worth planting in modules during the autumn and overwinter them in a greenhouse or coldframe. They can then be planted our during spring.
Keep garlic free of surrounding weeds and water every 14 days during prolonged periods of dry weather. Watering should be stopped when the leaves start to turn yellow.
Autumn planted garlic can be dug up in early summer and spring planted garlic can be harvested mid-summer to early autumn. Harvesting can start when the leaves turn yellow and store better if harvested without any delay.
They should be dried out in the sun or in a greenhouse but try to avoid head of over 30°C. Drying can take up to 2 weeks and the storks can be removed once they are dry.
Store at around 5-10°C
- Flowering – Flower storks should be removed as soon as possible and can be used in stir fries.
- Split bulbs – A sign of being harvested too late
- Green Cloves – caused by shallow planting or a late harvest. These can still be used in cooking but do not store well
- Leek Rust – A fungal disease which causes the foliage to become orange
- Onion White Rot – A fungal disease which presents as a white mould on the roots.