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In the garden: Garlic

Garlic growing.

My garlic plants are just starting to wilt. They should be ready to pull out once two or three leaves on each plant have turned brown, while there are still green leaves in the centre, to avoid the bulbs splitting by becoming too dry. I am hoping to have fresh garlic in time for Christmas, even if it is only one ceremonial bulb! I haven’t given them much love, apart from a decent lot of compost dug in before planting. I’ve watered them twice, maybe three times, then just left them to survive – there has been a lot of rain though. When watering, it is suggested that you water the soil, not the leaves, but it begs the question, what does the rain do? (It waters both!)Usually, when you lift garlic from the ground, you let it dry so it will store, but the freshly-pulled bulbs are as crisp as an apple, and milder to eat, so some will be devoured like that.

If you live in the northern hemisphere it’s around about now that you should be planting garlic. The recommendation is to plant on the shortest day and to harvest on the longest day. I planted about three weeks late, but they are likely to speed up growing now that it is warmer.

The only trick with planting garlic – and a child can do it – is to plant the bulbs with the sprouts poking up, to make the journey easier for the bulbs to send up the shoots. Garlic grows best in a lighter, free-draining soil, but saying that, I’ve got clay under the garden bed and they have fared well (oops, the proof will be in the pudding when I pull the first one out!). I think they like plenty of compost, well dug in. Everything in my garden beds seems to thank me for that.

Garlic growing.
This is how it started.

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