Garlic bulb on paper bag

Planting Autumn garlic

If you’re thinking about growing garlic at home, this post will be right up your street. This box contains enough garlic to keep a whole horde of vampires away. We eat so much of it we should be immune anyway – which is a good job because this lot has been planted in the ground.

Seed garlic in box

I hadn’t even thought about growing garlic last year until a local freecycler kindly gave us a selection of garlic cloves in exchange for pebbles (I think we got the better deal there). A few months later our garlic has dried and there is space in the ground for more. Although tasty, I don’t know anything about the varieties we grew because the cloves were loose and mixed. So this year I ordered an Autumn Planting Pack from The Garlic Farm. Here’s what was in it:

A Lautrec Wight garlic bulb.

Garlic bulb on paper bag
Lautrec Wight

An Early Purple Wight garlic bulb – aren’t the colours nice?

Garlic bulb on paper bag
Early Purple Wight

A Provence Wight garlic bulb.

Garlic bulb on paper bag
Provence Wight

And three Elephant Garlic cloves. I couldn’t believe the size of them! I put a 50p next to one of the cloves so you can see just how huge they are!

Huge Elephant Garlic clove
Elephant Garlic

If you’ve never planted garlic before, it’s really easy.

1. Separate the bulb into cloves

Separate the cloves from the bulb as close to planting as you can, ideally within 24 hours. Be gentle to avoid damaging them.

Breaking apart garlic clove

2. Choose the best cloves

Separate any damaged or shrivelled looking cloves. Save the tiny ones for eating, the same goes for any you accidentally damage in the process of separation.

Bags of Autumn garlic cloves

3. Prepare your soil

Choose your spot (ideally sunny with good drainage), break up any big chunks of soil and dig in some compost.

4. Plant

Most cloves need to be planted about an inch deep. Make sure you plant them the right way up: the pointy tip should be facing upwards as this is where the shoot will grow from. The roots grow from the flat base.

Garlic clove in the soil

5. Cover

Cover your garlic cloves with soil and water in. And that’s all there is to it!

DIY plant markers

I made some quick plant markers out of twigs to help me remember what I planted where. If you want to make your own; sharpen one end into a point and shave bark off the other end for writing on.

Twig plant markers

Growing conditions

Our back garden is fairly shaded, only receiving 4-5 hours of sun a day in the Summer. I was worried a lack of sun with months of rain would make the garden too wet and the cloves would rot. However, our garlic growing was a success! We have clay soil and have been working hard to improve soil quality by digging in compost and breaking up lumps of clay. The cloves were planted in a raised bed which I think help moisture drain away easily. So if garlic will grow in our garden I think it will grow anywhere!

If you want to plant Autumn garlic you’ve still got a few weeks. Go go go!

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