There’s nothing better than the taste of fresh garlic. It also turns out that growing your own isn’t that difficult. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, potent garlic all year long. Follow this guide to get the most out of your garlic harvest.

Plant during the Right Season

It’s best to plant garlic bulbs during the autumn. While you may be able to grow a decent harvest if you plant later, you’re risking a failed crop. Planting before the end of October will ensure your bulbs are able to root quickly and grow in the spring.

Consider Your Options

When planting garlic, you’ll need to decide between hard-neck and soft-neck varieties. The cloves on hard-neck garlic grow around a central stalk. On the other hand, soft-neck garlic produces more cloves.

Soft-neck garlic cloves also keep for longer once they’re harvested. Some gardeners recommend planting both varieties, while others suggest only sticking to one. Diversifying your garden increases the likelihood of having a successful harvest.

Choose Your Cloves

If you want to grow larger bulbs, plant larger cloves. Be sure to plant your cloves about 10 centimetres apart and at least 5 centimetres deep. Some large cloves are dividing, which may lead to competition in your garden if they grow too close together. Choose solid outer cloves, and avoid planting smaller cloves.

Think About the Soil

Garlic grows best in loose soil. Before planting, make sure the soil is properly aerated and broken apart. Use a hand fork to help loosen up the ground. This is also a great time to add nutrients to the soil. Mix in organic matter and fertilizer. The soil should be moist but not overly wet.

Nourish During the winter

A layer of mulch will provide your garlic bulbs with enough nourishment and protection throughout the winter. In fact, some studies have shown that adding mulch will help your garlic yield a bigger harvest.
A mulch of chopped leaves, straw, and grass trimmings will protect your crops from the harsh winter, while also keeping weeds at bay.

Watch Out for Pests

Onion root fly larva is one of the most detrimental pests to your garlic crops. These tiny worms feed on garlic bulbs. Look out for small, beige larvae on the bulbs. Covering your garlic crops with mesh is one way to deter these unwanted pests.

Harvest with Care

Once your plants have between 5-6 green leaves, it’s time to begin harvesting. This happens in late spring. When harvesting, you need to take care not to damage the outer layers. While it may not be possible to save every layer, you want to make sure each bulb still has 2-3 intact layers. A garden fork may be used to carefully scoop out each bulb.

Dry and Store

Trim the stalks and roots and remove the outer layer of skin. Use a soft brush to clean away any leftover soil or dirt. Do not wash the bulbs in water. The clean bulbs should be stored in a dry, dark area.

Your larger bulbs should be set aside if you want to plant another harvest for the next year. Once the bulbs are completely dry, they should keep until autumn when you’re ready to plant again.

If you require any garden maintenance, do ask a local tradesman for advice without any obligations.

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