Garlic is an easily grown bulb in the British Isles, which just needs a good soil and a sunny position outside.
The green shoots and stems are edible as well as the more familiar dried bulbs or heads. Garlic can be harvested early when the bulbs are immature. This is known as green garlic and has a fresher, more peppery taste.
Garlic can be grown outside throughout the British Isles except in the very far north of Scotland.
Plant from November to February whenever the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. Garlic needs a well drained, deeply cultivated soil, with some well-rotted manure or garden compost added - a bucketful for a 0.5m square patch is fine.
Separate each bulbil from a head of garlic only when you are ready to plant it. Push each bulbil, base down, into the soil about 5cm deep. Space about 10cm between each bulb and 20 cm between the rows.
Once the garlic is planted it needs very little care except to keep the plants free from weeds. You can pull up green garlic whenever you want but if it is left longer you will have a heavier crop. During summer, the leaves turn yellow and dry off. Don't worry if the plants flower, it doesn't affect the bulbs. Dig up the bulbs once the leaves are rustling dry. Save some of the biggest and best bulbs to sow next autumn.
Usually healthy. If garlic is grown too close together it may develop various diseases which show up as white mould around the stems. Pull up infected plants and don't grow it in the same place next year.
Bulbs are sold by seed companies and can be bought from garden centres. These are from special varieties which are accustomed to UK growing conditions and will give better results than bulbs from the shops. If you plant garlic sold for cooking it will probably grow but only produce small heads.