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If you'd like to try growing garlic from cloves, you need this top tip from Colorado-based master gardener Gardener Scott. Learning how to grow garlic is similar to learning how to grow many other crops – it needs sun, good soil, and regular watering. Having said that, growing garlic isn't like growing a tomato, say, because you're growing from the clove not seed. And the key to success here is paying attention to the quality of the cloves you'll be using.
In a video dedicated to growing garlic, Gardener Scott (opens in new tab) gives this one very important tip for having success with this crop: if you're planting up a variety where the cloves in the bulb vary in size 'depending on where they are in bulb', 'try to focus on bigger cloves for planting' and save the smaller cloves 'to actually use in the kitchen.' The bigger cloves will grow into 'a much bigger and better bulb next year.'
It seems obvious, but just planting all the cloves regardless of their size and quality won't give you a good yield of garlic.
Moreover, Scott cautions against using cloves that are damaged 'or look like they're starting to rot or have dried out', 'don't even attempt to plant these cloves – they're best just to throw in the compost pile.'
And if you come across a garlic clove that looks fuzzy, as if it's covered in 'spiderweb-looking filaments', discard it completely and don't even put it on your compost, as it's likely to introduce pests into your compost. You can learn how to compost in our easy guide.
Finally, once you've chosen the best, plumpest garlic cloves to plant, don't forget to plant them the correct side up – that is, pointy side up, flat side down. 'The garlic will begin to put down roots pretty quick after planting', and will grow even better if you mulch your raised garden bed ideas with straw, to keep moisture in and keep the cold out during the winter.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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