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Growing Garlic

How to grow garlic in containers, garden beds and allotments



Family/Latin Name

Allium  - sativum L

Type of Plant

Bulb - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Allotments, large containers

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Dimensions

Height 30cm/1ft  - Spread up to 20cm/8"

Yield per plant 1 head (containing +10 cloves)

Time between planting sets and harvesting

22  weeks for April planted garlic

Where to plant sets

Outdoors in open ground or containers

Planting time

Late March-early April temperature   +10C/50F

Can also be planted in September- October for overwintering

How to plant (cloves only)

Divide a bulb of garlic into cloves, leaving the papery skins on. Plant 5cm/2-inches deep,  pointy end up covering with about 2.5cm/1" of compost or soil. 15cm/6" apart in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks. or 1 clove to a 15cm/6" pot.

After Germination

Keep the soil moist but not very wet and weed free.

Growing on - in Pots

Keep weed free. Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. 

Growing on - in open ground

Keep weed free. Water  in dry weather and feed once or twice during the growing season. 


Break off any flower stems which may appear. Stop watering in late August.


Once the foliage has turned yellow and toppled over, leave the bulbs for a further two weeks then carefully lift with a fork.

Garlic which is not going to be used immediately should be spread out and left to dry (outside if the weather is clement or inside if damp).  Discard any soft or damaged bulb, remove dirt and brittle stems and store in a cool, dark place for up to 8 months

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Onion Fly
Indications Yellow drooping leaves and maggots in the base of the bulbs
Treatment None. Lift and burn infected plants
Prevention Organic
1. Practise crop rotation.
2. Destroy any thinnings or broken leaves
3. Firm the soil around young plants very firmly
Spray young plants with an insecticide containing chlorpyrifos
Stem and Bulb Eelworm
Indications Young plants leaves become swollen and twisted. Bulbs have a soft feel to them and often split at the base. The worms are not visible to the naked eye.
Treatment None - lift and burn infected plants
Prevention Practice crop rotation
White Tip
Indications Tips of leaves turn white and papery, spreading downwards
Treatment Organic
Lift and destroy badly infected plants
Spray with an insecticide containing Dithane as soon as you see the first signs of disease
Prevention Practice crop rotation
Downy Mildew
Indications Yellow patches on leaves with a greyish mould underneath
Treatment Organic
Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic copper spray/dust to diseased and surrounding plants every 7-10 day
 Remove the infected leaves and spray with Dithane at first sign of attack
Prevention Avoid damp or humid sites and overcrowding.
Practice crop rotation.


Companion Flower Graphic

Grow Beetroot, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage Family
 close by.



Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies". 


To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Loose or in net bags for 2-3 weeks in a cool, dark, dry place.

Preparing:  Break off individual cloves as needed then peel the papery skin off.

Cooking:  Due to its pungent flavour and aroma, garlic is primarily used as a flavouring. However, whole cloves or even whole bulbs can be slow roasted and served as an accompaniment as it takes on a sweet mild flavour.


When adding to recipes, in general, it is best to slice thinly or chop finely and until you are used to the taste, use garlic sparingly.


For more preparation and cooking information about garlic plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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