How I grow garlic

In this previous entry I talked about the different types of garlic I’m growing this year and in Episode 42 I discuss how I grow garlic and in both I’ve promised a written article and here it is.
Garlic has to be one of my favourite edibles to grow as the different varieties is endless, they are one of the first plants to go in starting the new growing season off and they grow over the winter making the plot look less bare during this time.
Firstly I like to prepare the bed by adding plenty of well-rotted manure and compost a few weeks before. I also give a sprinkling of a good fertiliser and also order my seed garlic in. I tend to get all my products from The garlic farm of whom I’ve found to be the best supplier of good garlic products and bulbs that grow well in the uk. I make sure I keep a note of the varieties and research each type to find the best time to plant and whether its a hardneck or softneck.
I start planting in September depending on the variety but some I plant as late as February. Garlic needs a spell of cold weather in order to split the bulbs into cloves so planting in a greenhouse is not ideal. To plant a simply dib holes at 6inch intervals (elephant garlic at 9inch intervals), split the bulbs into individual cloves removing the papery outer and pop them into the hole with the point side pointing up. Then give them a good watering. I like to make sure the whole clove is under the soil as this makes them anchor in the soil stronger.
Care is quite simple ensure the ground is moist but not water-logged and feed every month. As the seedlings emerge birds may pull them out the soil mistaken them for worms but simply just pop them back into the soil and they will be ok. The only other problem I get is rust of which I just cut off any infected leaves and burn them but rust doesn’t really harm the bulbs (bad infection can stun growth).
Depending on the variety depends on when it’s ready to harvest. Hard necks are ready when about 3 leaves have turned brown where as soft necks the plant stalks will fall over. Normally I find I start harvesting around the end of June although wet garlic is harvestable in May as you just harvest a bulb early. I simply lift the bulbs out of the soil and brush of the soil and snip off the roots. I then hang the crop in a shed to dry for a couple of weeks and then cut of the leaves and it’s ready to use.
So that’s how I grow garlic it’s uses in the kitchen are endless so many recipes will include it but if you would like to share a recipient using garlic why not contact me about it and I’ll get it on this site.

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