Last chance to get the garlic in
Garlic needs a good period of frost to get those fat cloves to divide into nice plump bulbs, so plant now to give them winter outdoors for really good results next year.
Don't be tempted to plant garlic from the supermarket: it's possibly carrying viruses, and is probably from somewhere much warmer than the UK so it'll suffer in our climate. Instead, buy good-quality bulbs such as those you'll find at your favourite garden centre. There are two types to choose from:
Hardneck: the gourmet's choice for their rich flavour and the curly scapes (flower buds) they send up: stir-fry for a real treat in summer. Hardneck garlics don't store well, so eat fresh. Varieties:
- Edenrose: exquisitely flavoured with pink cloves
- Lautrec Wight: deep pink cloves and an excellent flavour
- Albigensian Wight: a rare hardneck that keeps well into the New Year
Softneck: the ones to grow for storing through winter. Dry thoroughly in a sunny spot indoors – a greenhouse is perfect – and plait to hang in the kitchen.
- Chesnok Wight: purple veined cloves with a strong flavour
- Red Sicilian: early to mature with a fantastic spicy flavour
- Provence Wight: huge white bulbs with fat cloves and a sweet flavour