Discover the best garlic to grow for flavour and save 15% with our reader offer

Allotmenteer Jojo Tulloh explains why growing your own garlic is so rewarding and suggests some of the best garlics to plant now, plus find out how you can save 15% on buying garlic bulbs with our reader offer. 


Why grow garlic? Taste is the simple answer. The sweet, subtle flavours of a home-grown bulb will put you off acrid, long-stored shop garlic for ever. Grow garlic yourself and you can eat it at every stage, snipping the spring onion-like greens into tarts and soups in February and later on harvesting the curly green stalk-like flower buds or 'scapes' (to use like green beans or asparagus). At harvest time the baked heads of the 'wet' new garlic can be roasted whole and the dried crop eaten until Christmas and beyond. Even months after lifting, a home-grown bulb still retains its sweetness. On top of taste, garlic has long been used for centuries to fight disease and infection, and today is thought to help lower both cholesterol levels and blood pressure. 


Garlic to grow

Nine great garlics to plant now and harvest May to July:

Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon ‘Extra Early Wight’
A large, white softneck, with a crisp, fresh flavour. Ready end of May. Has a white bulb streaked with mauve.

A. sativum ‘Iberian Wight’
Large, fat, white garlic with purple stripes. From southwest Spain, it is an excellent all-round garlic with large cloves perfect for Spanish dishes, especially tomatoes.

A. sativum var. ophioscorodon ‘Red Duke’
A hardneck, heritage garlic from Moravia in the Czech Republic. It has plump, purple cloves and a fierce, spicy flavour.

A. ampeloprasum ‘Elephant’
Less intense than some cultivars, with a warm, mild flavour. Roasted whole, the large head makes for a spectacular feast.

A. sativum ‘Solent Wight’
A cultivar Colin Boswell of The Garlic Farm (see details below) highly recommends both for its flavour and the length of time it keeps – normally around nine months.

A. sativum var. ophioscorodon ‘Lautrec Wight’
Considered by many to be one of the most flavoursome. Can be planted in autumn or early spring, but not good for wet conditions.

A. sativum ‘Germidour’
An early cropping garlic with rich purple head and ivory cloves. The reliably big heads must be checked regularly for splitting pre-harvest. AGM*.

A. sativum ‘Thermidrôme’
Traditional cultivar producing large white heads and cloves. Plant October to November for a July harvest, but use by Christmas after cropping.

A. sativum ‘Arno’
With a white head and pink cloves, this new cultivar has the largest bulbs of any long-dormancy type. Will string or plait easily and keeps well. AGM.


Don’t be tempted to plant cloves from a shop-bought garlic, which may be a cultivar better suited to warmer climates. Instead try:
The Garlic Farm, Mersley Lane, Newchurch, Isle of Wight PO36 0NR (Tel 01983 865378,, which stocks many of the cultivars shown right.
Jennifer Birch, 3 Strathmore Gardens, Sling, Coleford, Gloucestershire gL16 8Jq (Tel 01594 832190) also offers a good selection. Call or send a SAE for her latest stock list.

To see Jojo's favourite, full-flavoured garlic recipes, click here


Reader offer

Save 15 per cent when you buy either the Garlic Farmer’s Pack or the Garlic Grower’s Pack from The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight. Click here for details.


Words Jojo Tulloh

Photography Andrew Montgomery


This article was taken from a longer feature in the November issue of Gardens Illustrated (240). 






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