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Growing Garlic

Growing Garlic

Garlic is a rewarding and easy to grow crop but it needs to be grown on well-drained soils for  good results and prefers a sunny site.
Hardneck Garlic is a group of cultivars selected from Allium sativum var.ophioscorodon originating from climates with colder winters and produces a flower stem (scape) that can be used in salads and stir fries but it has fewer, larger cloves and a looser tunic.The flavour is stronger and more interesting. It stores only till midwinter. 

  • Hardneck Varieties include:
  • Chesnok Wight – a good cropper with deep purple veining and strong flavour. An early summer maturing cultivar.
  • Lautrec Wight – Suitable for both autumn and early spring planting. Does not like heavier soils or colder areas. Matures early summer and one of the best flavours.
  • Red Sicilian – Matures early summer and has a spicy flavour and is particularly good for roasting.

Softneck Garlic Allium sativum. It doesn’t produce a flower stem but stores for much longer and generally produces smaller, more tightly packed cloves.
  • Early Wight – This is an early maturing cultivar that can be harvested in May from an autumn planting.It does not store that well.
  • Purple Moldovan Late maturing with large purple cloves.
  • Solent Wight Matures late summer and stores well

When to Plant
How to Plant In the Ground
How to Plant in Pots

Which to grow? Garlic cultivars are split into two main groups – hardneck and softneck and the bulbs aren’t always white as most people think. They often come with tinges of pink, red, purple or brown.

Softneck Varieties include:

Garlic is best planted between November and April and bulbs are sold according to their suitability for spring or autumn planting. Generally an autumn planting gives a bigger and better crop


Garlic prefers full sun and well drained light soil. Split the bulb and plant individual cloves 1” below the soil surface with the pointed end facing up – the actual clove will be just below the surface and each clove 4” apart. Garlic does need a cold period to grow successfully but if your soil is heavy you may want to start them of in trays and transfer them out in the spring.

Netting will stop birds from pulling them up if you plant in the ground.


Grow in multipurpose compost in a pot or container about 10” wide and 10” deep and place the cloves 1” deep and 4” apart. Don’t plant too near to the edge of the container to allow for the bulb to swell and keep moist in dry spells.

Posted by Charlie Groves

Charlie is the manager at Groves Nurseries.  He is the 6th generation of C.W. Groves to run the garden centre. 

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