We are often asked how to grow bigger garlic, and many gardeners struggle to get it right.
It really tempting to use your biggest cloves in cooking, and this is the first mistake, so along with that, here are 9 other tips on how to grow bigger garlic.
We have found 10 things that we believe determine how big your garlic will be and here are our tips.
Our Top Ten Tips for growing Bigger garlic
Soil You need a loose sandy loam type soil that is rich, well drained but holds moisture, lots of organic matter and at least 12 inches deep to allow for good root growth.
So prepare the soil well. Dig in aged cow manure, some blood and bone / bone meal and maybe some rock dust if you have it.
The soil should be loose, not compacted.
- Remove all weeds – no root competition.
- Planting Time
This does differ a little depending on variety – However, we plant in autumn, the soil is still warm enough to get good root growth and good foliage growth before winter.
- Planting Distance – Around 6 inches for most varieties because garlic does not like root competition.
- Planting Depth 1 – 3 inches, Any deeper make it difficult forth bulb to push to the surface.and can lead to smaller bulbs.
Any shallower then you run the risk, of the bulbs being exposed to the sun through heavy rain, or even frosts and freezes affecting the bulbs in colder zones.
- Fertiliser – essential for good sized bulbs. We recommend a potash (high potassium) and nitrogen fertiliser from early spring (every 3 weeks). AND THEN stop any nitrogen fertilizer at 8 weeks before harvest. You can keep up with potassium type fertilizer (sulphate of potash) as this does help increase bulb size.. Don’t over fertilise!
- Bulb Size – The bigger the clove you plant the bigger you garlic will be.
- Plant the bulb the right way up – so bottoms down, pointy end up.
- Types of garlic
Two basic types
These are a hardy type, they will grow in colder climates, they naturally tend to have larger bulbs and most people would say they have better flavour profiles. These ones send up a flower stem or scape.
Prefer a milder climate, without the really cold winters. Usually more cloves per bulb (but smaller) they are faster growing and do not send up flower breads or scapes.
- Remove the flower scapes for larger bulbs, the scapes take energy away from the bulbs….cut them off and eat them in a stir fry.