Last summer, I went to Bestival on the Isle of Wight. On day one of the festival, before we drove into the campsite, we went for lunch at the Garlic Farm – not even five minutes from Robin Hill Country Park where Bestival is held. We had an amazing feed, all laced with garlic. After lunch, I wandered around their store, full of garlic related produce including garlic bulbs for planting.
I took four – one for myself, one for my housemate, one for Niall’s mother and one for Joan (who I have mentioned on a number of occasions) and who grew garlic last summer and introduced me to the amazingness of homegrown garlic. I stuck the bulbs into my case and forgot about them until I got back to Dublin.
Traditionally, the first of October is the date to plant garlic. Before that date, I went out and bought two brightly coloured pots to plant them in.
On the 1st October, I broke open my bulb. From it, I got thirteen cloves which I planred up in the two brightly coloured pots. In theory, I should get a new bulb from each clove. Here are a few garlic facts that I did not know before I started growing it:
- Garlic doesn’t mind freezing conditions – plant the cloves deep and leave them through the winter.
- If a clove is accidentally planted upside down, it will take a little bit longer, but it will right itself.
- Garlic doesn’t like to share its space with other plants so it needs to be weeded regularly.
- It is ready to harvest when the green tops dry out and turn a yellow-brown colour.
While I haven’t got to the harvesting stage yet (June / July), I beleive there is quite a short window in which to get it out of the ground. Take it out too soon and you get small bulbs, leave it too long and the cloves might split.
If you want to read more from someone with more authority on growing than an amateur like me, check out this post from GIY International.