For many gardeners, the onset of autumn signals the annual tradition of planting next summer's crop of garlic. Late September through to December is the optimal time to start planting autumn planting varieties of garlic. Spring varieties can be planted up to late spring. If you've never grown garlic before but like the idea of having homegrown garlic on tap, ready to use whenever you need it, you'll be glad to know that it's very simple to grow and flourishes in most garden soils. And every type of garlic seed that we sell has been trialled on the farm first, so you can be sure that your garlic plants will be healthy, strong and tasty. Four of our favourite varieties are Extra Early Wight, Iberian Wight, Red Duke and Elephant Garlic - all of which are included in our autumn planting pack. Follow our step-by-step guide below to get started:
1.Once you have bought or ordered your autumn-planting garlic bulbs, choose a sunny site in your garden, with fertile, well-drained soil.
2.Prepare the soil before planting, by weeding the surface and digging the soil over, removing any rocks and hidden debris. Alternatively you can plant garlic in pots or in a window box.
3.Mix in some compost or potash to enrich the soil. Our Garlic Farm Fertiliser contains a unique mix of sulphate of potash, phosphate, nitrogen and magnesium - a blend of minerals that we have found helps garlic thrive.
4.As soon as you are ready to plant your garlic seed, separate the individual cloves from the garlic bulb and plant each clove pointed end up, 10 cm apart, with the tips roughly 5 cm beneath the soil's surface.
5.That's all the hard work done! Now you can sit back and look forward to a fine crop of homegrown garlic in the summer, while your garlic seeds spend the winter developing their roots and absorbing valuable nutrients.
6.By early January, you should start to notice the tips of the new garlic plants breaking through the soil. Keep the soil free of weeds, and water only when necessary.
7.Once the weather starts to warm up in the spring, you might like to add further nutrients in the form of compost or fertiliser.
8.As the plant grows, trim any scapes (the shoots with buds that appear on hardneck garlic varieties) so that all the plant's energy goes back into the bulb. The scapes are edible and delicious, like asparagus - this blog post gives you a few ideas of how to cook them.
9.Harvest time is usually sometime between late June-mid July, depending on how much sunshine your garlic has received by then.
If you need more detailed advice, our Garlic Farm Growing Guide is a fantastic reference book for growing garlic, including how to manage common garlic diseases and pests, and how to store your garlic after harvesting it.