Newest Review: ... Iron, Magnesium, Fibre, Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Manganese etc. Garlic has a really pungent smell and taste, similar to th... more
Member Name: clairestevens
Advantages: Delicious ingredient, easy to grow
Disadvantages: Smelly breath!
It is indicative of the change that has gone on in British cooking in the last 20 years or so that garlic is now one of the most widely grown edible plants in the UK.
Garlic (allium sativum) has been recognised for centuries for its healing properties - there are references to it in Egyptian and Roman texts dating back for millennia. It has powerful anitbacterial properties and can helps lower cholesterol.
Garlic is used in many foreign dishes and is often used in European and Asian cuisine. However if can also be used to enhance British cooking - roast lamb benefits from having garlic and rosemary cooked with it and garlic cloves roasted in this way lose their pungency and become soft and sweet.
It's very easy to grow your own garlic and you don't need a great deal of space. It should be grown in a sunny site, either in pots or in a bed, in rich, freely draining soil. It is planted from mid autumn to late winter for a summer crop the next year. To plant, separate each clove from the bulb, discarding any small cloves. Plant each clove pointed end up so that the tip is just covered by soil. Space the cloves 10cm apart.
Garlic takes very little care - just make sure that the cloves don't get uprooted y animals and if they do, just push them back into the soil. Water the plants during dry spells, but garlic, like the rest of the onion family, are quite drought-tolerant.
Garlic is fairly disease-free, but beware of rust or mould during prolonged damp spells. Discard or burn any affected plants.
To harvest, wait until the stems go yellow and bend over. Loosen the bulbs from the soil with a trowel and spread them out to dry in the sun (if it's damp, take them into a shed to dry out).
To store bulbs, place in a net bag or plait the stems to form a rope of bulbs. Keep in a cool dark place.
Summary: Worth growing even if you only have a tiny bit of space