Garlic ‘Carcassonne Wight’ from Thompson & Morgan

Carcassonne Wight is one of the most successful garlic varieties for overwintering
Image: Garlic ‘Carcassonne Wight’ from Thompson & Morgan

If you love the taste of garlic and want to try growing your own garlic sets from scratch, here’s where you’ll find some of the best advice. These YouTubers and bloggers are garlic growing experts and will help you get the most from this tasty bulb. Here’s how to plant, care for, and eventually store your own homegrown garlic…

Richard – Sharpen Your Spades

Garlic ‘Kingsland Wight’ from T&M

Some garlic varieties produce lovely purple-tinged skins
Image: Garlic ‘Kingsland Wight’ from Thompson & Morgan

Did you know that garlic was domesticated in the Tien Shan mountains 12,000 years ago? Richard, of the popular blog Sharpen your Spades, takes you through the history of garlic, from its origins as a wild native of central Asia to the common sight it is today in allotments across the UK. Check out his article ‘Garlic: A Mighty Bulb’ to learn more about its fascinating backstory.

Dan – Urban Turnip

Garlic ‘Germidour’ from T&M

Garlic ‘Germidour’ is reliable at producing cloves with a mild flavour
Image: Garlic ‘Germidour’ from Thompson & Morgan

Avoid planting supermarket bulbs because theyoften have some growth-inhibiting chemicals added to the surface,” says blogger Dan of The Urban Turnip. He recommends buying garlic sets that are specially produced for gardeners, highlighting the classic variety ‘Germidour’ for its reliability. Check out the rest of Dan’s article ‘How to Grow Garlic in Containers’ for excellent container specific growing advice.

Tony O’Neill – Simplify Gardening

Adding lime to soil to neutralise ph

Garlic likes growing in soil with a neutral pH so correct acid soil by adding lime before planting
Image: Simplify Gardening

Garlic needs soil with a neutral pH to keep it healthy and to improve resilience to disease. Don’t worry if yours is acidic, says YouTuber Tony O’Neill of Simplify Gardening, just add lime a few weeks before planting. One of six amazing tips on How to Grow Garlic at Home, Tony also explains when to sow and harvest as well as how to recognise common pests and diseases. This video is well worth a watch.

Andrew – Life on Pig Row

Man illustrating how to plant garlic the right way

The flat part of the garlic clove points down in the planting hole
Image: Life on Pig Row

The pointy bit is the top and the flat bit is the bottom and that’s how it goes in the hole at two and a half times its depth,” explains Andrew at Life on Pig Row. His video ‘How To Grow Garlic’ walks the viewer through his method of planting cloves in the ground and demonstrates exactly how to space them out to get the most from a small bed. Whether you’re a garlic beginner or just want to brush up on your planting technique, you’ll find this video really useful.

Liz Zorab – Byther Farm

Gardener holding elephant garlic bulb

Elephant garlic produces enormous individual cloves
Image: Liz Zorab – Byther Farm

Elephant garlic is actually more closely related to leeks, says gardener Liz Zorab, and both the leaves and bulb have a delicious mild flavour. In her video ‘Growing Elephant Garlic’, she explains how she gets the best of both worlds by growing gigantic bulbs as both a perennial vegetable and an annual crop. Make sure to check out the rest of her informative and friendly videos at her YouTube channel, Liz Zorab – Byther Farm.

Lee – Project Diaries

Splitting garlic cloves before planting

Split up your garlic cloves for cold treatment before planting in warm climates
Image: Project Diaries

Garlic needs a cold spell and something called stratification; it needs to go through a frost or a winter phase for it to then start separating into cloves,” says YouTuber Lee at Project Diaries. He suggests popping your garlic in the freezer for three weeks to simulate winter before you plant your cloves. Check out his step-by-step video ‘How to Grow Garlic in the Spring’ to see how he grows garlic in the UK.

Shaz and Andy –

Garlic plants covered in snow

Garlic needs cold temperatures to split into cloves

If you experience mild winters, plant your garlic sets during the autumn, suggest Instagrammers Shaz & Andy “Having a cold snap is exactly what they need. The freezing temperatures stimulate the cloves to split and create large dense bulbs.” Looking for reliable autumn-planting garlic? These guys are growing ‘Provence Wight’, ‘Solent Wight’, and ‘Rhapsody Wight’ on their allotment. Give their page a follow to keep up with their garlic harvests and to check out the rest of their home grown produce.

Liam Bulson – The Allotment Book

Garlic 'Rose Wight' (Autumn Planting) from Thompson & Morgan

‘Rose Wight’ is a great example of an easy-to-grow, autumn-planting garlic variety
Image: Garlic ‘Rose Wight’ (Autumn Planting) from Thompson & Morgan

Don’t hoe between your growing garlic, says Liam at YouTube channel, The Allotment Book. Hoeing risks nicking the stems and damaging the plants, so instead plant your garlic cloves through biodegradable weed proof matting. For an overview of the winter garlic growing season, check out Liam’s excellent video ‘How To Grow Garlic’. From planting sets in October to harvesting in June, you’ll see the whole process in 12 short minutes.

Laura – @arlosgarden

Garlic scapes being held up in air

Scapes are the edible flowering stems and buds of the garlic
Image: @arlosgarden

Did you know that you can eat the stem and buds of garlic flowers? “It’s nice to know you get to eat as much of the plant as possible,” says Instagrammer, Laura – she has hers for breakfast! Check out Laura’s picture to see these curly ‘scapes’ for yourself. Give Laura’s page @arlosgarden a follow to keep up with her ‘grow your own’ journey and also see photographs of her impressive garden produce.

Charles Dowding

Closeup of healthy garlic bulbs

Healthy garlic produces good sized bulbs with clearly formed cloves
Image: Charles Dowding

A very important thing to remember about the garlic harvest, some people say the leaves should be yellow, but that’s not true. You should still be seeing roughly half the leaves green,” says no-dig expert Charles Dowding. He reckons that 23rd June is the right time to harvest softneck garlic, then early July for hardneck. Feel your bulbs first to check that cloves have swelled, making a ridged surface, which suggests maturity. Watch Charles’ excellent video to learn all about soft and hard neck garlic growing.

Tanya Anderson – Lovely Greens

Garlic drying from Tanya at Lovely Greens

Wait until your garlic is completely dry before plaiting
Image: Lovely Greens

Make sure your garlic is completely dry before storing, says Tanya of Lovely Greens. She packs hers into a cardboard box and stores it in the garage. She says, “after three months [the bulbs are] bone dry, and they’re perfect for sorting and for braiding.” Check out the rest of her video to see exactly how to plait your garlic for displaying in the kitchen and gifting to friends.

Richard – The Veg Grower Podcast

Garlic ‘Picardy Wight’ from T&M

Home grown garlic has a tremendous flavour
Image: Garlic ‘Picardy Wight’ from Thompson & Morgan

Split the biggest bulb from your summer garlic harvest to replant in autumn, says Richard of the Veg Grower Podcast. His advice is to cover your cloves with a generous layer of mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture – this doesn’t have to be expensive, Richard promises! Simply run fallen garden leaves through the lawn mower and use the resulting shredded leaf mix to cover the soil surface. Find more innovative tips and great gardening chat in his podcast.

T&M blog

Different sized garlic bulbs

Garlic ‘Extra Early Wight’ is an extremely hardy variety
Image: Garlic ‘Extra Early Wight’ from Thompson & Morgan

Garlic is normally trouble-free, but there are two diseases to watch out for: rust and white rot,” say our experts here at Thompson & Morgan. They suggest rotating your garlic around the allotment to a fresh bed every year, or planting your cloves in a container with fresh compost. Learn more about keeping your garlic healthy with our ultimate guide to growing garlic. Written by our experts, this is garlic growing advice you can trust.

We hope that you’ve found these articles and videos from our favourite garlic bloggers useful. If you think we’ve missed a great tip then drop us a line via email! For more information and advice, head over to our onions, garlic & shallots hub page.

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