Grow garlic, an easy crop with no dig, hard or softneck, tips for harvest

Easier when you have control of weeds, see my other videos for advice on that with no dig. I show the two main types of bulbs, plus elephant garlic which is not a ‘true garlic’ and tastes of leek. Dates here apply to zones approx. 6-10, I am zone 8. Garlic is prone to rusty leaves and see how I manage to reduce rust. Harvest early rather than late and I show why. I show an easy way of storing garlic for many months of use.

With a 4th June harvest from the polytunnel, where I grow garlic between winter salad plants, needing no extra space. We tidy the plants straight after harvest, these are not washed but peeled.
Garlic hung to store in house
Same garlic one month later, dried in the compost bays under a roof, then plaited, will be good to use from now until next May

20 thoughts on “Grow garlic, an easy crop with no dig, hard or softneck, tips for harvest

  1. Hello! Looking at planting garlic this fall, but wondering how it will do in a new bed on top of cardboard? I will be planting hardneck here in Minnesota US in zone 4. Thanks so mcuh!!

    1. That will be fine Melinda, as long as there is 3 to 4 inches decomposed material/compost on top of the cardboard. The card will have decomposed by the time the garlic roots need to get into the soil.

  2. I have harvested my first garlic crop this summer 🙂 and am very pleased with the results.
    The flowers have developed bulbils. Is it worth planting the bulbils, or am I better off saving a few cloves?
    Thank you.

  3. I really just want to say how fabulous I think your website is/you are! I planted garlic on impulse last November, and the arrival of lockdown has allowed me to give lots of time to the garden for the first time in years and your site has been wonderful to help me figure thing out – I have just harvested my first ever crop of garlic! For a first timer I’m pretty pleased with it. Big differences in performance between the three varieties I planted – and there was an ODD THING that happened that I’d love an expert opinion on. I planted all soft-neck varieties. The space dictated two rows of each type (which I planted in alternating rows ABCABC, if that makes sense – there are some slight differences in the amount of light/shade so I thought I’d see if it would affect them). But very strangely, ONE row and only one row threw up scapes! They were very tasty, so no complaints on that front, but it’s decidedly odd. This type (Marco) didn’t do especially well in either row though (they were smaller than I’d like, but otherwise fine). Thanks again for this lovely site!!!

    1. Thanks for your enthusiastic question Georgie.
      How odd as you say. Marco is softneck.
      So was there another variety in the Marco you bought? If so, why a complete row? I think it was a hardneck got in that seedlot, smaller as you say, tasty and easy to peel.

  4. Hi Charles,
    I’m a latecomer to your rite . This resulted in me missing garlic for sale in local garden centres as I didn’t know when the best time was to buy it and plant it. i have taken courage and used a good sized clove from a grocery store and planted it a bed that grew peas last summer. i top dressed the space with some compost (as per your no dig advice). Even though it was planted in the first week of January the weather here in Kent has been surprisingly mild and the soils is still pretty warm and moist after all the rain. Hopefully i will get a harvest from the 20 cloves I have planted next to the Kale that is still cropping nicely. Incidentally, I have netted the kale as the damage I thought was from slugs or snails I now realise is from pigeons – thanks to watching your videos!

    1. Cheers Rob and well done.
      The only risk with that garlic, unless organic, is if they treated it with fungicide for longer shelf life (wouldn’t grow) but let’s hope not. It will take 6 weeks or so to appear anyway.

      1. Hi Charles. Almost a year since I first messaged you and your reply. What a year it has been too! Last year the garlic grew (sorry I didn’t update you) but this years was planted end of November and is growing well i. a new no-dig bed. In fact I so enjoyed the growing of vegetables (ands am still enjoying through these cold winter months) that I prepared two more very long beds no-dig beds (each about 32 feet long) in the late summer/early autumn using your methods of covering grass with cardboard and compost. They have already provided a great deal of salad leaves and spinach as well as space to put in some over-wintering brassicas. I am now going through the planning of what to put into the beds in spring. I have used your information on varieties and purchased all my seed and invested in a heated propagator for the greenhouse. What I am still struggling a bit with is how to get three plantings for as much of the space as possible. Obviously, in some cases it may not be possible due to the length of time it may take to reach harvest for some first plantings. I am finding information gradually from all over the place in your videos (small garden videos especially useful I find). Is there anywhere I might find a suggested plan for the most efficient use of planting space? I use your diary for a sowing guide ands last year I was able to get plants in as others came to harvest in a pretty had hock manner but I would like to better plan sowings for replacements to fill spaces. One great thing is thanks to you i don’t feel the need to worry about ‘rotation’, which helps enormously. Thanks so much for all your helpful guidance and enthusiasm.

        1. Rob, thanks for your feedback which is excellent. There is no golden rule about three plantings here, I’m not sure where you found that, I normally reckon two.
          You need to work out your own succession plan because it’s governed by what you want to eat, together with your climate. See my YouTube video One Bed, the middle part of which had four crops in 2019. And yes, not rotating helps a lot!

  5. Hi Charles. I was wondering what the results of multi-planting garlic might be. Given what happened with the elephant garlic have you ever tried multi-planting your standard cloves? I am curious whether it would work.

      1. I missed a plant during harvest and the bulb’s cloves all grew the following year. Several SMALL bulbs formed and they were just that… SMALL. Not really worth growing them in a cluster. They were separated and replanted but once again they only produced small bulbs. I only did this once but I am assuming that this is how it would be if I grew them using the ‘Multi-sow’ method.

  6. Great video Charles, thanks! I missed the autumn planting window so I’ve bought some Tuscany Wight and Solent Wight bulbs for planting now. Have you any tips for starting garlic off at this time? Should I plant them in modules on heat to get them going or just get them straight into the ground?
    I’m in Cardiff, Wales, by the way.

      1. Hi Charles, those cloves I planted are ³f tall now, but leaves are badly rusted. I know you advocate lifting early rather than later, but is it too early to harvest these, given how late they went in? Tips of leaves going yellow but the rest is green ( or orange !). Bulbs visibly forming when I check.

        1. Now is good Aisling, and in view of rust + cloves forming I suggest lifting asap, sounds a worthwhile result

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