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Garlic planting in pots

As I’ve mentioned I’m a novice on the gardening front, all help is appreciated, I am planting new apple and pear trees soon but due to hand injury I can’t dig. So in the meantime decided to plant garlic in containers, I’ve ordered the bulbs. Looking into the soil aspects, I’m, research shows, some say use compost, some say potting soil with compost, some say potting mix. So I’m confused on the soil front, also the use of slow release fertilisers, others say bone meal. Of course some folks will have their favourite methods. I’m seeking a tried and test method to increase my chances of having some garlic late summer. I will cover the new planting to protect from frost but should be ok living in London, we don’t get deep frost. Appreciate any help from garlic growers, thank you in anticipation 


  • I have never grown garlic fully in pots, I often start it off that way to get the roots going well but always plant out within a few weeks. I would think a soil based compost or a 50:50 mix of soil based with MPC.  Remember garlic needs a period of cold to initiate bulb formation so don't over protect them, they are quite tough.  Hope this helps a bit.
    AB Still learning

  • Dilip_UKDilip_UK Posts: 114
    thank you, that’s useful indeed. I’m going to mix top soil and compost 50-50 and add some granular feed. In terms of protection I’m more concerned about squirrels, I have about 5 who visit the garden daily, great but makes a mess of anything I plant, it’s a real pain. So will add some straw on top of the pots hope that will help protect the bulbs I hope. Thank you for your help 
  • I wouldn't use straw - it won't slow down the squirrels, and garlic don't need protection from cold. Wire mesh would be best, if you have anything like that...
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813
    Dont use pots

    Garlic is the easiest veg to plant.

    Select a 4 foot wide plot and chose the length that suits you.

    Weed and chop the soil to a coffee grain size.

    Measure the width of your hoe and add 6 inches and plant the cloves that width apart. This is so you can hoe leaving 3 inches each side of the hoe without disturbing the cloves.

    Take the fluffy bits off the clove and sow them half way into the soil with the root bit at the bottom..

    Check them for the first few days as birds will pull them up as they are curious.

    After a week you can gently pull one up and you will see the roots have started.

    You dont need straw or nets or fleece or any special Stuff.

    They are the SAS of veg

    Water a bit if it gets hot.

    Thats it.

    Next Autumn save some of the WHOLE bulbs and dont split them

    In late Autumn split the bulbs into cloves and plant again.

    You will never have to buy any again.

    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
  • I'm a novice too and decided to give garlic a go on the off chance as something I could plant in Autumn with little effort. I've planted some into heavy soil that's had multi-purpose compost raked into the top layer to lighten it and some into a 50cm diameter plastic tub filled with multi-purpose compost that I'd already grown a squash plant in earlier this year (so the compost had been "used" once already) and everything seems to be growing really well so far. Lots of strong healthy green shoots going up. So my experience at this early juncture is that they're dead easy.

    I would say (and this is purely anecdotal from what I've found so far - the others may know better than me when they say don't use pots) that as long as your containers are large enough that the bulbs have got room to grow then there's no reason that you can't grow them in containers. I grew half of mine in a veg bed and half in a tub because my garden is tiny, so if you don't have a large garden to work with and that's what works for you then just give it a go and see what happens!

    Best of luck with your garlic crop.
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    Just wondering how long your garlic lasts if you harvest it in July? Will the cloves be growing new shoots in December?
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813


    I always plant 100 cloves and I still have about 30 bulbs ( 6 cloves in each ) to use. No green shoots yet.

    I use garlic in cooking about 3 or 4 times a week.

    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    @NewBoy2 What variety did you use? I only planted 8-ish last year and I'm on the last bulb now but the last couple of months I can see they are already growing green shoots. The reason I am growing garlic is because I find that supermarket garlic grows green shoots before I can eat all the bulbs!
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,813

    I cant remember.

    I bought some bulbs from my local fruit and veg shop and started them off probably in 2017 and kept enough to replant every year.

    I sow 100 as its easier for me to remember and to fill a 4 foot x 14 foot bed.

    each bulb gave me about 6 to 8 cloves.

    I recently got some organic ones for my 74 yo fellow plot holder from

    To my amazement there were about 12 or 14 cloves per bulb so she now has about 120 cloves starting off.They were bigger and pink instead of white.

    Just given 6 from last year to a couple who are starting their new allotment and left a plastic box with 5 on my front wall where its a physical type of ebay.

    Hope that helps.

    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.....So lets help Them.
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