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 store your own homegrown garlic…

This article was reviewed by T&M’s horticultural team and updated on 31st May 2024.

Source quality garlic sets to plant

Three garlic bulbs on table

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

Avoid planting supermarket bulbs because they often 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 for specific advice on growing garlic in containers.

Reserve the biggest cloves to sow next year

Small harvest of garlic bulbs

A small harvest can still be just as tasty
Image: @snewland97

A gardening fail is always a lesson! For Instagrammer Steve at @snewland97, a disappointing garlic crop prompted questions about the quality of the cloves he planted. His lessons: “Buy garlic from a proper supplier not supermarket bulbs. If [you’re] using saved garlic, plant the biggest cloves, don’t use the small ones.

Add lime to acidic soil a few weeks before planting garlic

Person sprinkling lime to soil to grow garlic

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.

Space garlic sets 15cm apart

Marking stick of garlic planting

Mark a stick with the right spacing to make it easy when you plant 
Image: VeggiePlot

This video from Chris at VeggiePlot is ideal for beginner garlic growers. Space the cloves 15cm apart and leave 30cm between each row to make sure that your garlic plants receive as much light as they need to grow tall and healthy, says Chris. Watch as he gets a whopping 131 cloves of white ‘Casablanca’ and pink ‘Germidour’ garlic into the ground! His record book looks like a fantastic tool for the allotmenteer to keep abreast of what, when and how much.

Plant garlic cloves at the correct depth

Man holding garlic bulb for planting

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 excellent garlic-growing video 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.

Remove garlic scapes for a bonus crop

Man sitting in front of garlic bed

Alessandro says garlic is a versatile ingredient 
Image: Spicy Moustache

Over at the popular Spicy Moustache YouTube channel, Alessandro visits London-based gardener Jack from Jack’s Patch to talk about growing garlic. Jack explains that hardneck garlic varieties produce edible scapes (flowers) that need to be removed in order to focus the plant’s energy on swelling the bulb. But don’t discard the scapes, he says. According to Jack, they taste a bit like sweet asparagus! Watch Alessandro’s full video for lots of practical growing tips.

Try elephant garlic for enormous bulbs

Woman holding elephant garlic bulb

Elephant garlic produces enormous individual cloves
Image: Byther Farm

Elephant garlic is actually more closely related to leeks, says gardener Liz Zorab from Byther Farm, and both the leaves and bulb have a delicious mild flavour. In her video on 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. Visit her excellent YouTube channel for a wealth of helpful advice.

Look out for rust on your garlic leaves

Different garlic bulbs on wooden board

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 new bed every year, or planting your cloves in a container with fresh compost. Read our ultimate guide to growing garlic for the healthiest crops. Written by our experts, this is garlic growing advice you can trust.

Feel your garlic bulbs before harvesting

Man peeling garlic bulb open

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.

Dry out your garlic bulbs before you store them

Woman holding dry onions box

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.

Split and replant your largest garlic bulb in autumn

Four garlic bulbs on wooden board

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. Once replanted, 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.

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.

Expert contributor list

  • Dan, Gardening content creator, author of The Urban Turnip.
  • Steve Newland, Gardening influencer
  • Tony O’Neill, Gardening content creator, author, YouTuber. Winner of Ezoic Publisher of the Year award 2021.
  • Chris Halls, Gardening content creator and YouTuber.
  • Andrew Oldham, gardening blogger, columnist winner of GMG’s Gardening Columnist of the Year 2022.
  • Alessandro Vitale, Urban gardener, no dig gardener, author.
  • Liz Zorab, Award-winning blogger, YouTuber, gardener and author. Winner of GMG’s Vlog of the Year 2022.
  • Charles Dowding, No-dig gardening pioneer, horticulturalist, author.
  • Tanya Anderson, award winning author, teacher, and YouTube content creator.
  • Richard Suggett, Gardening content creator, creator of The Veg Grower podcast, allotmenteer.

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