Plant garlic and broad beans this month

This is less of a blog post than a simple reminder.  There aren’t many pressing jobs in the garden this month – things stay fairly calm until April.  Late autumn and winter are a good chance to catch up on pruning, tidying, designing new beds, building log stores etc, all weather permitting, and thinking, planning, and ordering seeds for next year.

Planting garlic at the allotment in November
Plant garlic cloves about one inch deep, 8 inches apart, leaving enough space between rows to hoe easily. They need a fertile soil so add some compost or manure along the rows in a month or two once they have sprouted.

However, there are two crops which really should be planted in November for best results – garlic and broad beans.   If you’re local, you can buy garlic bulbs for planting from the garlic stall at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.  Alternatively you can find garlic at Wilkinsons in town, or Pound Farm Garden Centre on the way to Gloucester at Whaddon (opposite Wynstones School).   If you grew good garlic this year, you can re-plant the cloves from your best bulbs.   Probably best not to plant normal supermarket garlic as it will have been grown in warmer climates than ours, so may not do so well in the UK.

Aquadulce is the variety of broad beans to plant in November.  Some other varieties are for spring planting, so be sure to buy Acquadulce (or another autumn-sowing variety if you find one).   Plant the seeds about an inch deep (or deeper, see comments below), in double rows so that the plants help to support each other.  Leave about 6 inches between seeds, and the same between the two rows.  The next pair of rows should be about 2 feet away from the first pair of rows.   A problem with planting broad beans seeds is that they sometimes get eaten by mice before they germinate – so,  if you have enough seeds, you might want to sow them a bit closer together to allow for losses, then thin them out.   (If they all get eaten, which is unlikely, sow them in pots in the early spring and plant out when the baby plants are about 4 inches tall).

I’m sowing saved broad bean seeds, and a mix of saved garlic and new bulbs of Isle of Wight varieties from the Farmers Market.  If you have any trouble getting your garlic and broad beans locally, Tamar Organics is a very efficient small mail order company.   I’m always amazed at how quickly they send things out, and their postage charge is very reasonable (£1.60, but free over £20).

2 thoughts on “Plant garlic and broad beans this month

  1. I always plant my broad beans at least 4 inches deep. That way the mice are less likely to get at them and they make sturdier plants because they’re more deeply rooted.

    1. Good comment, thanks. As I was planting my broad beans this afternoon I was thinking ‘did I really mean one inch’? That probably is a bit shallow – the RHS suggests 2 inches. There is a rule of thumb for seeds that the planting depth should be roughly the same as the width of the seed. I think this calls for an experiment with different planting depths for broad beans! I will try some 4 inches deep and see how they do, compared with 1 and 2 inches deep.

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