Growing Garlic

The plant:

A friend of mine who saw my blog for the first time recently suggested I should have included some more photos of my garlic planting.  Well I can do better than that – a whole post on the subject.  Actually I could probably write several such is my passion for the subject.  To start why grow your own garlic:

  1. It tastes better.
  2. You get to eat the shoots.
  3. You get to eat it young and green.
  4. Its cheaper – especially if the two cuisines you cook most frequently are Indian and Italian.
  5. No food miles – an awful lot of the garlic sold in Oz seems to come from an awfully long way away.
  6. You can ensure its organic
  7. The plaiting is kind of fun.

Sold?  I think so

How I grow it:

Garlic likes a well composted, fertile, limey soil.  What it doesn’t like is fresh manure but it will grow well in a bed you applied heaps of manure to the previous year.  You will also probably need to add lime.  (Make sure its garden lime though not the stuff brickies use.)

Garlic 2 weeks after sowing


Garlic needs as close to full sun as you can get in your garden and likes a monthly dose of liquid fertiliser.

I buy in seed garlic (cloves grown especially for planting) but you can plant cloves saved from last year’s crop.  I sow each clove 12cm apart with 12cm between rows, you could possibly plant as close as 10cm but any closer might be pushing it.  Cloves are sown tip end up about 3cm deep.  I wait for germination before mulching and water only if it gets really dry.  This year my garlic took less than a week to push through the soil and every one I sowed came up.  If only everything in life was so reliable……

Garlic 3 weeks after sowing

As well as sowing 98 cloves in my main bed I have also filled a few polystyrene boxes, the kind that fruit often comes in, with fertilised potting mix and sown 8 cloves in each box (the deeper boxes are the best).  I am trying to sow a years supply and I think I will need about 120 – 130 heads (about 2 per week).  Last season I grew 75 heads and I am half way through them and its only May (I harvested in January).

Just a thought: Although I have never actually tested the truth of this; I always choose the biggest and best cloves in the head for planting as my gut feeling is that they should produce the best heads.

This garlic, which incidently goes by the name of Italian – Common,  was sown on the 21st April and should be ready in December/January.  Heads of garlic are ready when the stems start to wither.  I store my garlic by plaiting it and hanging it in the laundry.  Garlic germinates when it gets cold so you want to store it in a dry location with a fairly even temperature.

I will include a post on how to plait garlic for storage when I do it after harvest.

This entry was posted in Alliums - Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Autumn Planting, Summer Harvesting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Growing Garlic

  1. joan ballantyne says:

    that looks like too much hard work! I stuck cloves that had started to sprout in the back of the fridge in a spare strip of ground. It produced a bumper crop which out grew my neighbour who had followed his gardening book. I’m a lazy gardener….

    • Liz says:

      I think that’s what they call naturally green fingers. When I tried the stick it in and ground and hope method a couple of years ago I got barely enough to make a decent spag bol rather than enough for the whole year. Having said that if you soil is good, garlic does tend to thrive on neglect (ie doesn’t usually need watering, doesn’t have too many pests after itetc etc) – onions & shallots are much the same if not even more responsive to leaving them alone to get on with it. Can I also recommend parsley, dill, watercress (provided you get lots of rain), chervil and rocket as other plants that thrive on seemingly very little and they also have the added bonus of being kind enough to reproduce themselves by self seeding. Perfect for lazy gardening. Incidently I love the idea of using the cloves out of the back of the fridge although keeping it in the fridge is probably what made them germinate in the first place…..

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