Garlic is a must have vegetable and is simple to grow. There are two types of garlic; hardneck and softneck. Hardneck varieties produce a flower spike which can be eaten, while softneck varieties don’t and tend to store longer. Bulbs that are planted in the autumn have time to develop than spring planted bulbs and this allows them to produce an extensive root system and you are more likely to get a better harvest.
Split open the garlic and choose the larger cloves as these will give a larger yield. Smaller ones can be grown in pots. Sow the cloves in light sandy soil 2-3 inches deep, and 1-2 inches in heavy soil, roughly 6-8 inches apart. Keep the area weed free and leave them until spring when you can apply a high nitrogen fertiliser as a top dressing.
Garlic can be harvested between June or July, or when the leaves turn yellow. Lift them carefully with a fork or by hand and remove any soil from the bulbs. You can eat the garlic at this stage, this is known as wet garlic. If you’re storing your garlic, place them in a dry sunny spot until the outer skin is completely dry (paper like). Once fully dry, you can trim and store the garlic in a mesh bag or woven into a plait.
Pests and Diseases
Onion white rot is a fungus that causes the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. If you lift the garlic, you will see a white fluffy growth on the bulbs. Unfortunately, there is no chemical you can use to treat onion white rot. Leek rust is another fungus which causes bright yellow spots to appear on the leaves. Generally this won’t affect the plant or yield.