GROWING GARLIC IN POTS AND CONTAINERS





Like it or not, garlic is one of the most widely used culinary seasoning in the world. Popular in Asia, Africa, and across the whole of Europe, garlic is actually a native to central Asia and has been used as both a culinary and medicinal plant for approximately 7000 years. In fact there is even documented evidence that it was used by the ancient Egyptians!

Of course the freshest and best flavoured garlic plants are going to be those that have been grown using traditional methods and sadly supermarket garlic is grown primarily for its size and shape. This means that home grown garlic bulbs are almost always of a superior quality.

Sadly not everyone has the space to grow garlic in the garden but that does not mean you have to go without as garlic will grow perfectly well in containers.

Garlic bulbs are purchased as pre-packed bulbs and are best planted between November and April although bigger and better crops can be produced if you plant a little earlier in the autumn. Luckily you do not nee to worry about which garlic bulbs are planted when as they are sold according to their suitability for spring or autumn planting.
Image credit - http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/

To start with you will need a pot that is at least 8 inches in diameter and with a similar depth to allow for good root growth. Fill the container with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 3'and incorporate a little Sulphate of Potash or growmore as fertiliser. Do not any any further fertiliser for the rest of the growing period

Plant each clove a 1 inch deep and space them at least 4 inches apart to give space for the bulbs to swell and don't plant too close to the container edge. Move the container to a sunny position and remove any weeds by hand to prevent damage from hand tools.

Make sure the compost remains moist, especially during dry spells, but do not allow the compost to become waterlogged.

HARVESTING

Garlic planted in the autumn will be ready to harvest in June and July. Spring-planted garlic will be ready slightly later. They will be ready for lifting  once the leaves have started to wither and turn yellow.

Loosen the bulbs from the soil using a trowel, but take care not not to damage the bulbs as this will your trowel as this will reduce their ability to store.

Once the leaves have withered do not to leave the bulbs in the pot for too long as they can re-sprout increasing the chance that they may rot when stored.

Lay out the bulbs to dry in a warm and dry place before storing them. Any soil left on the bulbs can be gently removed brushed off. The  garlic bulbs are now ready to be stored in a ventilated container or room for up to 3 months..