The best time to plant garlic is June — traditionally the shortest day of the year (21 June) and harvest on the longest day of the year (21 December). In cooler districts garlic can be planted in May right through to August.
It is possible that garlic purchased from the supermarket has been treated with a retardant to stop the bulbs from sprouting. This will explain the stunted growth and distortion. GardenPost garlic bulbs have not been treated – they can be planted or eaten fresh.
Plant into a well-drained soil in a sunny position. Dig in generous quantities of compost, and an application of general garden fertiliser and lime before planting. Break the bulb into individual cloves taking the largest cloves from around the outside of the bulb — discard the smaller ones or use in cooking. Break the bulb up just before planting. Keep the area weed free and if conditions are dry, keep well watered.
Plant cloves with the narrow end up, so they are just covered — approximately 2-5 cm deep. This will depend upon the size of the clove. Reduce watering one month before harvest to improve the keeping quality. If flower stalks appear, remove them as this will reduce the size of the garlic bulbs when harvested.
Plant whole shallot bulb in autumn (May onwards) in well-drained rich soil, but not where you have grown onions, garlic or leeks before (otherwise your shallots will get nasty diseases). Do not plant them too deeply. Once established keep them well-fed with nitrogenous fertilizers and well watered if the soil gets dry. Closer to harvest time lay off the nitrogen.