25/10/2011 11:27 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Family Fun For Autumn: Grow Your Own Garlic!

Family fun for autumn: Grow your own garlic! Getty

It might not be the first thing you'd think to grow in your garden (or window box) but it's the season for garlic growing. There are several types of garlic clove to choose from, Hardneck, Variety and Softneck.

Got a family with green fingers? We asked Colin Boswell from The Garlic Farm for a few top tips to make family garlic growing a breeze this autumn...

Plant at the right time
Plant your garlic between October and January for the best results.

Prepare your patch
Mix in lots of good compost with your soil, ensuring you have at least six inches between each clove.

Perfect your planting
Don't break the bulbs anymore than 24 hours before you plan to plant them. Each clove should be planted 3-4cm below the surface with the root facing down.

Look after your crops
Water your garlic regularly until the last few weeks when you should stop completely. During February add sulphate of potash to your garlic as this will provide the sulphur based nutrients it needs.

Harvest in summer
Harvest your garlic around June and July. For Hardneck cloves, harvest when the leaves start to change colour, and wait until the garlic goes weak at the knees and lies on the ground for Softnecks.

Know what to avoid
When a Hardneck garlic bulb produces a floral spike (Rocambole) in June, this should be snapped off immediately as letting it grow means some of the nutrients absorbed from the soil are used to grow the flower rather than the bulb. Don't just throw the Rocambole away as they are very tasty in stir-fries, roasted or made into pesto.

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