Spotlight on garlic


Kitchen gardening

Spotlight on garlic

Late autumn to early winter is the ideal time to plant garlic. An essential element of cuisine across the globe, this wonder bulb also contains a host of immune-boosting properties and has been used as an antibiotic, to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and to reduce blood clotting. It’s a rich source of vitamin B and the perfect natural remedy for cold-weather ailments.


      Garlic belongs to the onion (allium) family, with close relatives including leeks, chives and shallots. The plant has long, grass-like leaves and if left to flower will produce pale white or pink blooms.

    Planting guide

    • Sow from seed or plant organic cloves (sprouted or unsprouted). Bear in mind supermarket garlic is usually sprayed and may be more difficult to grow.
    • Don’t remove the thin papery sheath. You want to plant cloves with this intact.
    • Carefully separate the cloves and plant them spaced a hand’s width apart, blunt side down, pointed/sprouted side facing up and about 5cm deep.


    • Plant in a sunny spot.


    • Water every 3–5 days or when the soil feels dry below the surface.
    • Stop watering about a week before harvesting.


    • Well-draining, composted soil.


    • When the leaves begin to grow, work a nitrogen-rich fertiliser into the soil.

    Expert tips

    • Garlic grows well with roses, cucumbers, lettuce, peas and celery.
    • Mulch after planting and remove when the weather starts heating up again.
    • Weed garlic beds regularly.
    • Bulbs can be harvested when the leaves turn brown and start to die off. Allow the soil to dry out, then dig up the bulbs with a garden fork. Cure garlic by hanging them out to dry by their stems in a cool, well-ventilated area for 2–3 weeks.
    • Bulbs left in the ground will resprout leaves that can be used as chives.

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