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Autumn planting garlic: better late than never!

Garlic Extra Early Wight with a boost of Natural Grower
Garlic Extra Early Wight with a boost of Natural Grower

Blog: Why those cloves need a big freeze for success…

I usually get my autumn planting garlic in the ground when you would expect – from October to November.

I’m going through a bad time with my mother being so ill in hospital and I feel constantly exhausted, so excuse my lateness, but I just sneaked them in before the end of December.

Garlic needs a spell of cold weather (one to two months below 10°C) in order to form cloves. If they don’t get this, you’ll end up with one large clove!

If you’d like to know more about growing garlic and recommended varieties, click here for my full guide.

I chose Extra Early Wight, a large white hardneck variety, with a crisp fresh flavour.

The mouldy garlic Extra Early Wight bulb
The mouldy garlic Extra Early Wight bulb

Cloves and scapes to look forward to

Hardnecks also produce scapes, or flowering stalks, which are quite a delicacy in France and have a mild, nutty garlic taste, so I’m looking forward to them.

As the law of Sod would have it, my tardiness led to one of the two bulbs of garlic going mouldy and being completely unusable.

I’d shoved them away in the conservatory – they were fine when I bought them at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show.

Anyway, 12 cloves should make 12 bulbs and that’s enough for a family of three, I think – and leaves more room in the 1m² raised bed for the onion sets.

I used Natural Soil Conditioner dug into the soil before planting. Rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other trace elements, it’s broken down gradually by organisms in the soil as a long-term, slow-release fertiliser.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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