Planting garlic in October can mean an early Spring harvest. Perfect for those of us who do not have unlimited space. We want to maximise our productivity so overwintering is ideal.
You can use bulbs that you have bought from a grocery store, however there is no promise of success, and a long time in the ground for nothing! We are planting out a large area as we want to plan ahead for our Garlic Spray a Natural Pesticide to keep the aphids off our other summer crops. Therefore we have bought bulbs which have been selected for growing.
First you Need to chose the right garlic bulbs for Autumn planting. Something like
Germidour a mild flavour with vibrant red strips on the outer bulb and cloves. Or you can chose a vibrant red and strong hard hitting full flavour that you would get with
Red Duke much stronger than those normally grown in the UK.
We opted for
Messidrome as they are hardier than the other varieties. They are softneck but will store well. WE are aiming to lift them in June/July time.
Preparing the ground for your garlic cloves
I am using the space behind my shed as it is untouched as yet. The garlic will act as the first crop. This means that before I am planting garlic, I am racking the soil. I broke it up with my garden fork and then racked over to ensure that the ground was as free of stones as possible. I want the soil to be free draining as Autumn garlic will struggle if water logged.
How far apart am I planting garlic in the ground?
I lay them on top of the soil before planting, this way I can ensure they are not too close to one another. You will ideally need around a two full bulbs distance apart. They will have space to grow and produce really large garlic bulbs this way.
I want to be able to pull them out without harming them so I have left a paving slab in a suitable location for standing on.
Planting garlic either in a pot or in the ground
Either way you can make life a lot easier by using a
plant dibber and making a hole the depth of twice the height of the garlic clove. Trust me it makes it all so much easier. Make sure that the flat end is dropped in first and the tip is pointing upwards. Then cover over gently patting to ensure that there are no air pockets. That way it wont sit in water. Your garlic will not love being in cold water all of winter, so make sure to have made a suitable home for them. Nice and well tilled soil is preferred.
I use a knee pad as this can be back breaking work. We also have a major problem with the neighbours cat so I use some old branches from the holly tree we cut back this Summer. All we can do is hope as I don’t want my garlic cloves to be dug up prematurely.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!