GARLIC - soft neck

Softneck garlic generally produces smaller, more tightly-packed cloves:

Does not produce flower stalks unless stressed

It is best harvested when the foliage starts going over

It has better storage qualities than hardneck varieties

If autumn planted it will keep until mid- to late-winter

If planted in early spring it can be stored until next spring

GARLIC - hard neck

Hardneck garlic originates from climates with colder winters:

Flower stalks appear readily

Fewer, larger cloves covered with a looser tunic are produced

It is considered to have stronger and more interesting flavour

It is best gathered when the foliage has changed colour

It stores only until mid-winter


Elephant garlic is not a true garlic - it’s  nearer a to a leek. It has a milder flavour than proper garlic and as its name indicates it produces a very large crop where  the individual cloves can be near the size of a normal complete garlic bulb. It needs a good , long, warm growing season to grow well. It is best planted in October.

The cloves sometimes do not divide, producing just slightly larger single clove (solo) bulbs. The single-clove  bulb can be harvested or planted again the following season when it will often produce segmented cloves.


Choose an open,sunny site and well-drained soil. High humidity around the foliage and wet soils make the crop more prone to disease, particularly  if planted in the autumn. Garlic does not thrive on acid soils.

Prior to planting improve the soils structure, moisture retention and nutrient levels by incorporating organic matter. On average soils, apply a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore at 25g per square  metre (1 oz per square yard). Where organic matter was not applied double the amount of fertiliser.

After planting, garlic needs a cool one to two month period temperatures of 0 to 10 C for good bulb development. Planting in late autumn or early spring should provide the necessary chilling period.

Break the bulb into individual cloves. Plant about 6 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart. The tips of the cloves should be about an inch below the surface. Or a little deeper in light soils. Elephant garlic cloves need  wider spacing.                        

If the ground is heavy and wet then it is better to start the plants off in modules for planting out when conditions are better.

As the foliage of garlic casts little shadow, the crop can be easily swamped by weeds, this would negatively affect their growth. Hand weed regularly not with a hoe.  

Garlic needs water to produce a decent crop. You should water every 14 days during prolonged spells of dry weather. Stop watering when the foliage behind  go yellow which indicates the onset of maturity. Overhead  irrigation could encourage fungal disease. Remove any flower stalks that appear.

Harvest autumn planted garlic in early summer and the spring planted garlic from mid summer onwards. Lift the bulbs once foliage starts to fade and go yellow.

The most common problem affecting garlic (and other alliums) is rust.  A bad attack can leave the crop as a copper coloured bed. There is no chemical treatment currently available. Avoid high nitrogen situations  / rich soil and close planting which might reduce ventilation.

Our Stock Garlic

Elephant Garlic

Sold as individual cloves.


Garlic is a member of the onion family; it is a staple of the Mediterranean cooking and is simple to grow in a warm sunny climate.

The complete bulb is made up of 10 cloves and it is split into these separate pieces for the kitchen and planting.

There are two main types of garlic these being the soft neck and hard neck varieties. There is also a related crop called elephant garlic.

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We have had to change our supplier so details here are uncertain. We will be obtaining a supply of Germidour and of Elephant garlic but will be ordering other varieties from Kings Seeds when asked to do so. A bit of an experiment this year.


Position: full sun

Soil: well-drained neutral to alkaline soil

Rate of growth: average

Hardiness: fully hardy

Forming large bulbs with a mild, yet rich flavour, 'Germidour' is a popular French softneck variety that is easy to grow here in the UK. A great addition to the kitchen garden or allotment, these can also be grown in pots, which makes them ideal for courtyard gardens - or even balconies!