Garlic is really easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance, and you can even grow it if you have only minimal space like a balcony. You can grow garlic in a pot if you wish! All garlic needs for growth is good sun, a well-drained and organically fed soil. You can put green waste in your soil around your garlic, along with compost or fertilizer. In a garden environment, plant individual cloves about two and half centimetres into the soil with the pointy end facing upwards, and around ten centimetres apart in rows which are thirty centimetres apart. You don’t want your garlic fighting with the other bulbs for nutrients during growth. Cover with netting or mesh if you can as birds are tempted to pull out cloves and bulbs of garlic while they are growing, so to avoid disappointment for yourself try to keep birds away.
If you’re growing in a pot then you need to use one which is quite deep. Twenty centimetres is a good size. The same rule applies; 2.5cms deep into the soil with the pointy end facing up to the sun. The bulbs will swell remember, so don’t plant them near to the edge of the pot of they will be restricted. Garlic isn’t a demanding vegetable and requires minimal attention, so only water it during a dry spell of weather. If you plant around Autumn time you can expect to be harvesting your crop around June or July as the gestation period is six months. In both cases, garden or pot, you will know when your garlic is ready by watching the leaves. When they start to turn yellow and drop down to the earth rather than reaching up to the sky, the garlic is ready. You may see some flowers depending on what type of garlic to planted. Remove these carefully as they will zap energy from the bulb. You can leave them to dry as they are really pretty, just hang them up in your kitchen.
You can also use the green chive looking shoots that sprout up after a few weeks in salads but don’t overdo it. The bulbs need the shoots in order to grow and so if you keep slicing them off you will end up with small bulbs. When you want to pull your garlic, very carefully loosen the bulbs with a trowel and lift them out, taking care not to slice the flesh with the trowel or they won’t keep as well. Lay the bulbs out somewhere dry and warm, then store in a cool dry place for up to three months. You could pass a bulb on to friends and family, get their opinions, and hopefully you’ll be wanting to plant more veggies and herbs!