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Updated April 11, 2013, 10:42 am betterhomesgardens
Garlic is one the easiest crops that you can grow. If ever there was a case of plant and forget, then garlic is it.
And it's just as easy to grow in pots as it is in the ground. So read on for our step-by-step guide to planting your own organic, super-tasty garlic. You'll be enjoying superb home-grown flavour in no time.
STEP 1: Gently separate your bulbs into individual cloves.
STEP 2: Dig a small hole for each clove. TIP: Prepare your soil in advance by adding quality compost or manure.
STEP 3: Plant about 8cm deep with the pointy end up, then gently back-fill around the clove and cover the hole with mulch.
STEP 4: In as little as 2 weeks the first shoots will appear.
STEP 5: When the foliage starts to die back, harvest. You can leave a few in the ground for a second season. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place and they'll last up to 8 months. You can even split up a bulb next season and start again.
Timing: For the best bulbs of garlic, plant at the right time. The rule of thumb is to plant close to the autumn equinox, about 20 March, or when the days start shortening and the nights become cooler.
Position: Like most bulbs, a full sun position gives the best results.
Soil: Free-draining fertile soil that's been improved with manure or compost before planting is ideal. In pots, use a quality potting mix.
Fertilising: At planting time, add a slow-release fertiliser and liquid feed across the growing season.
Water: Garlic is quite tolerant of dry conditions but suffers if it remains dry for extended periods. Keep it reliably moist, but not wet.Where do I get good growing stock?
We've all had garlic shoot off in the pantry. Can you grow it? Yes. But it may not be the best variety and may have been sprayed. New bulbs are clones of the old, so if the garlic you select tastes bland, then it's not going to improve with growing.
Visit an organic greengrocer and buy a few different varieties of garlic. Taste them and plant the ones you like the most.
Mail-order seed and plant supply companies, such as Diggers, carry a wide range of garlic. They have varieties suitable for growing in most areas.
Your local garden centre may stock garlic or be able to order it for you from early autumn.Click here to find out more about growing garlic