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Talkback: Plaiting garlic

Have just grown garlic for the first time, and bulbs are sound but very small (autumn planted). I shall persevere! Love your new book, Pippa - both practical and inspiring. Thanks!


  • Our garlic has flower buds on it now, is it normal to allow them to flower or should I cut the buds off?
  • I lifted my garlic last weekend and was delighted with the results. Out of two bulbs' worth of cloves I planted in October, I've now got 15 good sized bulbs and four smaller ones, as opposed to last year (which was my first attempt at growing garlic) when they were all rather small, though tasty. One odd thing is that two of the smaller bulbs haven't split into cloves - they're just little globes a bit smaller than a ping pong ball - even though they've had exactly the same conditions and treatment as the others!

    Ah well, will just have to use them when I need a lot of garlic for a dish! :-) Oh, and Anon, I know I'm not all that experienced in the matter but I would guess that you don't want the flowers as they'll sap all the energy that the bulbs are storing. I personally would cut the flowers off and probably dig the bulbs up now - do both because even when the bulbs are out of the ground, the flowers can still draw energy from them as they're like little battery packs that don't need to be plugged into the mains (i.e. the earth)!

  • My autumn planted garlic is lovely, have dug up one bulb and plan to harvest all tomorrow as it should be dry weather. I always plait mine and hang it in the garage to dry. Have found that any left in ground until autumn begins to sprout over again. Also should not be allowed to flower
  • Hi there, I had a terrible rust problem this year for the biggest garic crop I have ever grown (we love it). SOme of the bulbs were small but other fantastic. I have been trying to dry out the garlic for ages now to plait it. The very centre of the stems are still moist, is it ok to plait them now? Also some of the crop have bulblets appearing halfway up the stem even though they are not in the ground, or are they flower buds? Just one more question does anyone have any experience of cold smoking garlic as I would love to know how to do it with a home made smoker - can't inevest in a Bradley yet? Many Thanks, Clogless
  • Thrilled with our crop of Solent Wight on the southern slopes of Sheffield. Planted them and a hard-necked variety last autumn around the edge of a raised bed and the 4 inch leaves took everything the winter weather threw at them, frost, hail, snow, you name it. We haven't yet lifted the hard-necked although we've cut off some scapes. The leaves are just beginning to brown and I think the bulbs are smaller, probably because, unlike the Solent Wight, they've gradually become shaded by the pole beans. We had a much less successful spring planting last year and friends who planted this spring have a relatively poor crop so I think autumn planting is the key. Will plant Solent Wight again this autumn.
  • I grew elephant garlic for the first time last year. I got an excellent crop. I started the cloves off during August or September of the year before, in pots outside. When I harvested them there were dozens of small off-sets round the bulbs. I tried to grow these but they did nothing.Is it possible to grow them?
  • We have had much better results from our garlic this year especially the autumn planted cloves. They apparently need a certain amount of cold to make them grow properly. Like Antonia we had a couple of bulbs that didn't split into cloves. I understand these are called rounds - you can plant them this autumn and get really good bulbs next summer. You should keep your best bulbs for replanting, over time you develop a garlic that is just right for you and your soil. We have found two particular garlics, a red one and elephant garlic seem particularly happy on our allotment.
  • I feel like I'm boasting, but I grew garlic for the first time ever this year. The variety was Solent Wight. (We look out across the Solent and see the Isle of Wight from our garden, so it was an appropriate and happy choice!)I planted the cloves from one bulb on December 2nd and last week I harvested 23 plump and flawless bulbs. The smallest bulb is bigger than a golf ball, and most of the others are much bigger. I trimmed the roots and washed each bulb, removing the first papery layer, before placing them on my sunny window-sill to bake dry. They are ready for plaiting now. I will certainly grow this variety again. They were so easy to grow and needed little attention apart from weeding. Am I just lucky or what?
  • Have grown more rows this year than ever, planted in the autumn. Rust was a disaster and when i lifted the bulbs last month found many had some kind of fungal rot?? The bulbs are of average size , not brilliant, and the rot seems to be progressing even out of ground. Anyone got any good preventative measures for 1/ rust 2/ fungal rot ????
  • I grew garlic for the first time this year and the results were small corms of garlic - but what flavour. FRESH GARLIC RULES!!!!!!!!!
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