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Garlic is ready for harvesting once the leaves start to go brown & die back - usually summer.
BTW, garlic cloves need a period of cold before growth to ensure they divide well - I leave mine in the veg drawer of the fridge for a week or two before planting. And I plant them a couple of inches into the ground - if you're planting a lot make a small dibber - it saves wear on your poor finger!
I had a BUMPER crop of really good first class quality garlic last year ! It was all from my crop of 2010, and if it is grown from home produced bulbs, then it seems to be accliatised for your own area. I agree with slugsbgone about when to plant out. In Northumberland, we don't have to worry about whether we'll get a frost.
WE GET FROSTS HERE ALRIGHT !!!! and I'm just waiting for a chance to plant out sometime later this month !
I'm a first time grower. Never done any planting before. On the advice of a friend who has an allotment I planted my garlic bulbs in December and the leaves are already starting to go brown. Is this too erly for them to be ready?
In mild areas it should be fine to plant garlic in December. I don't know where you are growing it. Have a look at our project on the subject. We have had such strange weather recently that some crops may not grow as we would have hoped. My broad beans, sowed before Christmas as an anti-blackfly measure, have flopped in the cold weather. But I'm not giving up because at this time of year it's what's below ground that really matters.