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How to grow garlic


Plant garlic cloves in midwinter to ensure your best harvest the following summer. It's always best to buy bulbs from seed merchants that are certified virus-free and bred for growing in local conditions. You can also use shop-bought garlic, but you may find it less successful. In mild regions, the cloves can be planted out in prepared ground and covered with cloches or fleece. Or simply plant into seed trays and set out the young plants in March.

Watch Monty Don plant garlic bulbs in our practical video.

How to do it


Break garlic bulbs into individual cloves ready for planting. Take care not to damage the cloves as this can lead to rotting.


In mild regions, plant the cloves in well-prepared soil spacing them 10cm apart. Simply push the cloves into the soil so that the tip of each one is just below the surface. Cover them with cloches in frosty weather.


In cold areas and to speed up the growth-rate of the crop, plant the cloves in divided seed trays of multi-purpose compost. Water well and place trays in a cool greenhouse or cold frame to grow on. They will be ready to plant out in March or April.

Our tip

Keep garlic well watered during dry weather. If it's dry for long periods, the cloves will not swell and the resulting crop will have a short storage life.

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Talkback: How to grow garlic
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BernardW 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Garlic- If my garlic plants go to seed does that mean that will be no good for harvesting, or can I just decapitate the seed head and let them carry on?

Why do my garlic plants manage to bury themselves so deeply?

Lucie 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Which way round are you supposed to plant them? Pointy end up or down?

linny 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Last year my garlic only grew very small,what did I do wrong.

Marrowcourgette 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I am going to plans out my Garlic bulbs tomorrow but am concerned it may be too cold? I purchased the cloves from my local grocer so they are very fresh they are also French the date today is the 11th December and cold weather is forcast am I okay to plant out?

alankingwell 24/11/2011 at 15:30

I recently bought some large garlic bulbs from a supermarket, the bulbs are just one large clove slightly smaller than a golf ball or about the size of a large chestnut.
Can these bulbs be planted like the smaller ones?
And do you know what this round variety of bulb is called?

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