Spring is synonymous with growth, but certain plants do best when sown during the colder months because it’s more conducive to the development of their root systems.
This is why, contrary to popular belief, December is an excellent month to start planting, helping gardeners to get ahead of their Spring harvests.
Sowing garlic, in particular, is deemed the ideal December activity because bulbs need just a couple of months for healthy development.
British horticultural Monty Don has previously said that he prioritises garlic sowing during December for a fruitful spring harvest.
Writing on his blog, the gardener explained: “I start planting garlic bulbs in September but it can be done at any time before Christmas to have a good harvest next summer.
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What’s more, garlic can start to show shoots within four to eight weeks, depending on the type of bulb.
“The garlic you mostly buy is almost always ‘soft neck’ which has a flexible plaitable stem, stores well (which is why shops stock it) and is often excellent,” notes Monty Don.
“But many think the best garlic is ‘hard neck’ varieties which have a stiff, upright stalk and tend to have smaller bulbs.
“However, it is just as easy to grow and get hold of from food suppliers and because it is much harder to buy, it makes sense to grow it yourself.”
The bulb needs to be grown in an open site with fertile and well-dug soil – that is preferably exposed to a good amount of sun. One a gardening has been chosen for the garlic, split an existing buld into individuals cloves.
Planting these bulbs upright is the second most crucial aspect of the task, with the flat end pointing downwards while the point end points upwards.
“Space the cloves 15 cm (six inches) apart, with the tip 2.5 cm 9 (one inch) below the soil surface,” experts at the Royal Horticultural Society advise.
When soil harbours too much moisture, diseases may ensue. This is why a cold frame is encouraged for gardeners wishing to plant their garlic during the winter.
Bear in mind that birds may be tempted to pull up the newly planted bulbs so it may be wise to use a horticultural fleece until well rooted.
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