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Herbs and Spices, Garlic


Family: Liliaceae
Annual height: 30cm (12in)
Soil: rich, well-manured, well-drained
Situation: sunny
Propagation: cloves
Main constituents: amino acids, fats, vitamins A, B and C, volatile oil


If you are an avid garlic user, allocate a special sunny plot in the garden that has been well dug and drains well. Add plenty of compost and / or manure, and unless your growing season is particularly short and the weather cold you should get a good harvest. Split the bulb into cloves and plant them (tapering side up) about 5 cm (2in) deep and 10-15cm (4-6in) apart in spring. Keep well weeded and the sun should do the rest. For a longer growing season, plant in autumn and cover with strawy compost. Harvest when leaves die off.


The Chinese have used it for centuries and records show that the Babylonians, too, used it around 3000bc. The folklore is endless: Hungarian jockeys used to carry garlic to prevent another horse getting in front; bullfighters wore it to prevent the bulls from charging. A In India it is still used to ward off evil spirits. Throughout its history garlic has had great health-giving properties attached to it. It warded off colds and flus and even the plague. Modern research is still going on, but it shows that garlic has anti bacterial prpperties, can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood clotting, an is effective against many other diseases.

Preserving and main uses

Store by hanging the bulbs in a cool, dry place, and use individual cloves. It can be used in most savoury dishes with meat, fish, poultry and vegetables, salads and sauces. It is also extensively used in curries and Eastern cousine.


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