It’s easy (and fun!) to grow garlic at home, using one of the bulbs you buy from a shop. Now is the time to try it, and you could have your own, home-grown garlic by early next summer.
1) Start with the largest bulb you can find. Rub off the loose papery outside skin and divide the garlic into separate cloves. Some will be fatter than others, and these are likely to grow better than the very thin ones.
2) You need a shallow container to start the cloves off. If you have a spare large plastic bottle, cut the bottom couple of inches off. If not, you could use a small bowl or dish. Put some kitchen paper in the bottom, then add a little water, so that the cloves are damp. Turn the cloves so that the pointed end is standing up. This will be the growing tip, and the root end will be supported by the damp paper. Don’t let them lie on their side. Leave them on a windowsill for about a week.
3) These have been growing for five days, and they have strong roots already. On some, the growing tips are obvious. They are ready to be planted into a big pot, or a well-washed paint container – make plenty of drainage holes in the base. Once again, make sure to turn the cloves upright as shown.
4) Plant the cloves about an inch or two below the soil, and allow enough room for growth between each one. For best results, use peat free compost, and cover them with a thin layer. Water the compost well after you have finished. Garlic plants are quite hardy, and can stay outside all winter on a patio. Make sure the compost doesn’t dry out. Most of the growth is out of sight, they need a good root system.
5) In early summer, when the leaves die back and start to fall over, the garlic is ready for you to harvest. Dig the bulbs up carefully, using a small garden fork so that you don’t damage any precious cloves. Clean them off, and allow a couple of days for them to dry off before use. Enjoy!