Learning how to grow garlic should be one of the first things you do when you are starting a vegetable garden. Super easy to grow, garlic is a staple in my kitchen. Planting garlic was a given.
A great thing about garlic is that it is planted in the fall and is one of the early things to arrive in your garden in the spring. Very motivating!
This little bed of garlic I’m working on in the planting video below was planted on November 12.
Our sprouts showed up Feb 14! Great valentines surprise. And you’ll be surprised to know which type of garlic came up first.
Lower still on this page, you’ll find a video on how to harvest garlic. This harvest was June 29.
How to Grow Garlic
- When to plant – late summer to fall
- Clove Depth – 2″ with the pointed end up
- Days to Germination – Bulbs will overwinter and sprout in the spring.
- Sowing Indoors – not recommended
- Sowing Outdoors – late summer to fall
- Spacing – about 4-6″ apart
- Light Requirements – best in full sun, will tolerate light shade
- Watering – Low
- Good Companions Beets and Lettuce
- Bad Companions – Beans and Peas
- Rotation – Should not follow an onion crop.
Planting in the Fall…..
A video showing how to grow garlic, my planting session in the fall.
There are many types of garlic that one can get from seed catalogs and garden centers. The three main types are:
- Stiff-neck garlic – A single ring of cloves around a solid central stem. This is apparently the hardiest type.
- Soft neck garlic – This is the kind sold in grocery stores. Not as hardy as stiff neck garlic depending on the type
- Elephant Garlic – Produces fewer but larger cloves. This is actually a type of leek and not as hardy as true garlic.
I’ve read that garlic will actually adapt to your conditions. If you plant the largest cloves from this year, next year the cloves will be healthier too. Do this from year to year and your garlic will be adapted to your soil conditions. Sounds good to me!
This particular year I planted a seed garlic called Donostia Red, and to fill in some more space and experiment (I’m always experimenting in the garden!) I added some plain old store garlic to the bed. We’ll see how it goes.
Garlic prefers well drained soil with plenty of organic matter… uhm I think all veggies like these conditions. My soil however is rocky and borderline acceptable. I’d encourage anyone to give it a try and see if it works for you. Remember my motto in the garden is “Go ahead, give it a try!”
Garlic likes full sun but tolerates partial shade.
Plant in the fall about a month before the soil freezes.
Plant about 2 inches deep 6 inches apart.
Place garlic with the pointy end up.
Mulch with straw or leaves.
Wait for spring!
Be sure to mulch this well. I used wood chips some manure and leaves from my yard, straw would work well too.
Garlic sprouting in the spring.
In the spring if your mulch is very thick go ahead and pull away the mulch. This can be done right around the time that spring flowers like daffodils are blooming. Young green shoots should be showing soon!
Early spring start watching for those little green shoots to start poking their way through. Usually one of the first things to appear it just makes my little gardeners heart smile!
February 14… we have sprouts! and you know what is coming up first? The plain old grocery store garlic. Of course it is the harvest that matters, but just in case you wonder. 🙂
Harvest and Storage
Keep your garlic area weeded. Hoes can damage the garlic so be sure not to use tools too deeply. Your best bet is to weed by hand.
As your garlic grows clip any flower buds that show up. This will encourage the bulbs to grow.
Harvesting is super easy. It is time when the leaves start turning brown or if the tops fall over. Simply loosen the soil and pull the bulbs out.
I talked about harvesting garlic live on facebook, here is a replay.
You will want to ‘cure’ the garlic. This simply means leaving the garlic out in the open air to dry. Be sure to keep the curing garlic out of the rain. When the skins of the bulbs are dry the curing time is complete. This may take up to 2 weeks.
Garlic bulbs can be stored in a cool dry area from 5 to 8 months.