Planting Garlic

The cloves of garlic that I sowed in pots a few days before Christmas are showing vibrant green shoots, in their space along the path beside the greenhouse.

Planting these was a cold task in the bitter chill of winter, and time was short. When I broke apart the bulbs of Solent Wight garlic, the softneck type that we are trying this year alongside the hardneck Chesnok Wight, I planted most of the larger outer cloves but did not have time or pots (or the stamina!) to also sow all the smaller inner cloves that formed within the bulb. They were wrapped back up and put in the shed with the intention of planting them later.

This weekend, King of the Hill shifted the black sheeting that he put down to warm up the top part of our vegetable patch and dug the top corner, so that we could plant the remaining garlic. I pushed each clove into the soil about 4 or 5 inches apart , ending up with two rows each containing 20 cloves. As well as the seventy-odd cloves that are already sprouting in their pots, we should have a healthy garlic harvest this year if they all reach their potential! Sadly, we came to the end of last year’s garlic at the weekend, so must turn now to the farmers’ market and local grocers for our supplies until this year’s crop is grown.

These cloves were all broken apart six weeks’ ago when I planted the rest of the garlic, which may affect their chances of success, as ideally they should only be separated just before planting. Fingers crossed…

Beside the green flags of the garlic, the pot of primroses is really starting to come into its own now, in spite of the fierce winds that have swept through here recently. The sunny yellow flowers and fresh green foliage light up the path even when the sun is more reluctant to shine.

Sadly, the rhododendron that we rescued two years ago before building works began, cutting it back and potting it into a large container with fresh ericaceous compost, has fared less well against the battering storms. While most of the shrub still looks happy, there was one wayward stem heavy with two beautiful buds that I have been watching swell all winter; alas, this has been snapped off and these buds shall never reach their potential.

But the less exposed body of the shrub looks in fine mettle; there will be other buds.


17 thoughts on “Planting Garlic

  1. I have around 40 cloves in pots to plant out but I wonder if I have enough and now I’m wondering when I should plant my shallot sets

    • We only grew about 20 – 30 bulbs of garlic last year, and they have seen us through to now. In theory doubling the number this year should keep us supplied all year, so perhaps we’ve been a bit too over enthusiastic with even more than that! But there were a lot of seed cloves, and you can’t throw them away… I think shallot sets can go in now.

  2. I’m just fantasising about what I could cook with 90 heads of garlic…
    It will be interesting to see if there is any significant differnce between the ones you sowed in the pots and the ones you have just sown in the open.

    • Yes we love garlic – growing it in this quantity means we’ll be able to go crazy, making garlic purees and various 1-bulb recipes with abandon! Indeed, it will be interesting to see the difference between batches. Last year we sowed all our garlic into pots in winter without any direct sowing, and we only grew hardneck garlic, so I look forward to comparing hardneck and softneck for flavout this year too.

  3. I decided not to try garlic this year, as I wasn’t sure I would have anywhere to plant it. Now, of course, I am wishing I had, although to be honest I use so much of it that I couldn’t be self-sufficient anyway. Do you notice a difference cooking with home grown vs. shop bought?

    Not to self – get yourself organised and sow some primroses!

    • We’ve not noticed much difference in flavour, I’m not sure that you could really, with garlic – they taste good! – but definitely in quality – the supermarket garlic is softer and almost always has begun forming green shoots in the centre at this time of year (my mum was decrying the current quality of supermarket garlic to me just this week), whereas our cloves (while we still had them) were still beautifully firm and white. For that reason, we’ll definitely keep growing them while they are successful.

    • I should point out that I have crammed the garlic into the pots rather, as we will be planting them out soon, but properly spaced they should be happy to grow in pots until harvest, as long as they are watered well… Enjoy!

    • Full of the joys of spring! Our weekend was really hectic; shall try and finally put together a new post tonight. Hope that your weekend was lovely.

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