Experimenting with garlic in containers

This year, alongside the main bed, our garlic (planted in the autumn) is also undergoing a few extra trials.

We’ve been told you can manage successful sized bulbs in fairly small individual pots, and there’s no harm in trying it out as we had a number of cloves spare. As many individual pots (about 5 inches – 13 cm) as we could find each hold a single clove. Garlic in pots

The very thin cloves – Solent Wight had a lot of these this year – were packed in to a large pot to try for greens.

Finally, last year’s garlic harvest has started sprout too much indoors, so last weekend I started adding the errant cloves to troughs, considering we’d get as much use from the shoots while we continue using those which have kept better.

We have had rust a fair bit so for a few pounds, prefer to buy in fresh seed stock at the moment rather than saving our own for the main planting. The main garlic bed also contains Swift overwintering onions, next to Music garlic from the Really Garlicky Company. Alongside are Purple Wight, Solent Wight, German Red and Spanish Roja from Dobies and these last four are in the pots experiment too. I hope to mulch the garlic in the ground a bit this year as it’s supposed to help the bulbs fatten up by keeping in moisture.

In a similar vein there’s a small patch each of elephant garlic from Taylors’ bulbs, and wild garlic sourced from a native plants nursery.

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2 thoughts on “Experimenting with garlic in containers

  1. Patrick says:

    A common problem with growing garlic in containers is standard potting soil or compost is usually a little too acidic for garlic which prefers something a little more alkaline. Adding a little lime when you plant them can help. Otherwise containers should work fine.

    Also, rust seems to be closely related to the use of fresh manure or other high nitrogen fertilizer. If you have problems with garlic rust and you add nitrogen to your garden, you might try adding less or none at all. Too much nitrogen can stress garlic as well as a number of other plants.

  2. MissFuggles says:

    Thanks very much for that Patrick – something I had not heard of before, and we have quite a few in different pots so I can try a belated experiment. We actually garden on about six inches of soil on top of solid* chalk so finding some lime shouldn’t be a problem.

    Regarding the nitrogen/rust, we don’t add a lot apart from garden compost and some small amounts of fertiliser – this year’s main garlic patch is on last year’s squash bed so it should be quite rich but have had time to settle in. I’ll bear it in mind though – thanks again!

    The main change I want to make this year is to water and mulch at the right time – I’ve just finished reading Mandy Pullen’s Valuable Vegetables and this was something she recommended.

    *really, solid, white-cliffs-of-Dover-with-fossils solid chalk!

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