Over 25 million tonnes of garlic is produced each year according to the UN; humanity’s love for garlic is clearly strong and widespread. The sometimes-subtle, sometimes-overpowering taste of garlic lends a unique flavour to countless dishes. Many much-loved culinary favourites are unimaginable with it. However, it also divides opinions: there are garlic lovers and those who prefer to avoid it altogether. Those who like garlic can plant their own without a great deal of effort.
Growing garlic is easy and the best time to do so is now in early autumn. It's always best to buy a bulb from a reputable nursery rather than one bought from the supermarket. Choose the largest cloves of the bulb and plant them individually just below the surface about 2.5 cm deep with the tips of the cloves pointed upwards. Planting the cloves too deep will cause the clove to rot. The distance between rows should be approximately 15 to 18 cm apart. Soon the cloves grow roots and long narrow leaves appear.
Garlic likes a sunny location and should be watered often; however stagnant moisture should be avoided. Garlic will thrive in well-drained fertile soil that is nutrient-rich with compost. To prevent possible failures over winter due to excess moisture, it is recommended that you cover the beds with straw.
Your crop should be ready to harvest towards the end of spring, approximately six months after planting. When the green leaves start turning yellow, you know it's ready to harvest. Lift the bulbs during a dry spell and leave them to dry in the sun for one week, then brush off the dirt and store in a dry cool place.
At the site where you will be planting the garlic make sure no other bulbous plants, such as onions, chives or leeks have been growing there for the previous two to three years. Otherwise the soil will have too few nutrients which the garlic needs to grow.