At this time of year, most of us are not thinking about planting. But there is one crop that, if you didn’t plant in the autumn, you could consider allocating some space to this year. Garlic requires frost to kick-start its growing process, so planting before the last frost is best and there are many varieties that you can happily plant in January or February.
You buy seed garlic in bulbs, so you will need to separate the individual cloves for planting. You should choose a sunny well-drained spot for planting (so those of us with plots at the wetter end of the site will need to plant in raised beds otherwise the seed bulbs will rot). For nice big heads of garlic, the soil should be loose with a good level of nutrients; so fork the soil over well and dig in a couple of buckets of well rotted compost or a general purpose compost from the garden centre (not fresh manure – this should ideally be composted first).
Plant the cloves pointy-end up a couple of inches underground and about 4 to 5 inches apart. Pack the soil down lightly.
The garlic will need watering well in late spring and into summer for nice plump bulbs (but be careful not to overwater!). Stop watering 3 or 4 weeks before your estimated harvesting time (which will vary depending on variety).
Good Luck! – Chicken and 40 cloves of Garlic – Yummm!