Garlic is one of the most pungent and life-enhancing vegetables you can grow and it does surprisingly well in a soggy northern climate.
I have just finished lifting mine and nothing quite matches the heady whiff of garlic fresh from the ground.
Garlic is a member of the allium family along with onions, leeks and shallots and like its cousins it is very easy to grow. It is generally disease free and one of the few things untroubled by slugs and snails.
The only disadvantage of growing your own garlic is that it needs to occupy the ground for a very long time – almost a whole year in some cases – but it has the good grace to take up very little space.
Garlic is usually planted in the autumn although some varieties can go in as late as February.
The bulbs are split into individual cloves which are planted 15cms or so apart and about 6cms beneath the surface of the soil.
Like nearly all bulbs they don’t like to sit in wet soil where they can rot. If your ground is very heavy dig in some bulky organic matter or grit and plant the cloves about 3cms deep.
As long as you keep it weed-free and well watered in dry weather garlic will look after itself.
It is possible to grow supermarket garlic but much better to buy some seed from one of the specialist suppliers.
Like all alliums, garlic is sensitive to day-length and garlic grown in Spain or the South of France will sulk at northern latitudes.
So all you “budding” vampires in northern latitudes…..Watch out!