Little Growers would like to say a huge thank you to Colin, Daniel, Linda and the whole team at the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. Now is the best time of year to get planting your garlic, the sooner they are planted the more time they will have to establish themselves before the frosts set in. Last month the Garlic Farm kindly donated numerous cloves and bulbs of the magnificent Elephant Garlic and Early Purple. There was great excitement and intrigue when the Garlic Farm parcels arrived at the Little Growers office, I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much garlic or such amazing varieties! The Garlic Farm has provided us with great advice and insight on how the schools should produce top notch garlic so thank you to this really friendly, knowledgeable and generous company! I don’t think we’ve been this excited to plant up since Spring, as the photos show it was a glorious day for all involved.
The Garlic Farm’s Top Tips
Garlic is very easy for the amateur gardener to grow yet at the same time provides much pleasure for the experienced green fingers.
1) When to plant
As a general rule, garlic needs to be in the ground before the last frost. Whether you are planting an autumn or spring variety, it is better to plant earlier rather than later to ensure the plant experiences the cold weather necessary for the plant to vernalise. Some spring planting varieties can be planted up to April, but most varieties fair best if planted before December.
2) Where to plant
Garlic loves the sun so choose the sunniest position for good results. Garlic will grow well in most fertile soils. Ideally soil should be well draining but moisture retaining and not too acidic. Soil should be well aerated by frequent hoeing and should always be well watered from spring to about two weeks before harvest.
3) How to plant
Turn over the soil to at least a spade’s depth and create a fine layer of topsoil. Break the bulb into cloves, discarding any unhealthy looking specimens. The cloves should be planted root down, pointed tip up so they can be covered with at least 3-4cm of loose soil. You can either make individual holes for the cloves or draw out a furrow. Spacing should be 15cm apart for large cloves or 10cm apart for smaller cloves. Draw the soil over the cloves to cover them completely but make sure the soil is not too compacted. Cloves can also be planted in containers or pots. Allow 4 cloves per 15cm pot.