By: Gayle A. Alleman | Updated: Feb 19, 2021
How To Grow Garlic
It’s easy to grow your own garlic. It’s hardy, tolerates cold weather well, and does not need pampering. Whether in a garden or a patio pot, garlic grows well under most conditions and requires little maintenance.
Many gardeners, especially those in northern climates, plant their garlic in October. Others prefer to do it on the shortest day of the year — the winter solstice in December. Planting in the fall lengthens the growing time so bulbs get a jump start on spring and can grow larger. Some gardeners in more southern climates prefer to plant garlic four to six weeks before the date of the last frost.
Garlic is robust enough to survive the frigid months, but if the winter seems too cold or the snow doesn’t form a thick enough blanket over the plants, you can cover the bulbs and emerging shoots with straw or other mulching material for insulation.
You can try planting the garlic you buy from your local grocery store, but some grocery store garlic is treated with a sprout inhibitor that disrupts the natural growing cycle. If you don’t know whether your store-bought garlic is treated this way, visit a plant nursery or garden center to purchase naturally grown garlic that is suitable for gardening. If you prefer to try your hand with specialty garlics, visit a garden center or check a seed catalog.
How to Plant
To plant garlic, gently remove the outer skin from the entire bulb and separate the individual cloves, taking care not to damage them. (Leave in place the thin papery skin that covers each clove.) Choose about eight to ten of the largest cloves from the outside of the bulb for planting.
Place the cloves in the ground, tip up, in a place that gets about six hours of direct sunlight per day. Garlic needs to grow quickly to form large bulbs, and full sun fosters fast growth. You’ll also want to be sure the area in which you plant will not become waterlogged in winter.
Work the soil about ten inches deep, adding organic matter and perhaps even sand to improve drainage. Bury the cloves in this loose, fertile soil so the tips are about two inches beneath the surface of the soil and the cloves are four to six inches apart.
Apply a weak organic fertilizer every two weeks or so. Water the plants regularly so the soil is moist but not overly soggy, and pluck out weeds that would otherwise compete for nutrients and possibly overgrow the garlic.
Garlic prefers hotter and drier conditions as it matures. If you water the garlic less frequently near the end of the growing season, it will dry out a bit and its flavor will be better. Of course, the amount of water your garlic needs depends on your area’s climate, so keep a close eye on your soil.
It’s time to harvest your garlic when the green tops dry out and turn yellow-brown. This is typically about three to four months into the growing season — late summer or early fall. Some gardeners prefer to harvest their garlic on the longest day of the year — the summer solstice in June.
Harvest too early, and you get small bulbs. Harvest too late, and the bulbs may split. This indicates that they have already started their next growing season and diminishes their culinary quality.
Before you harvest all your plants, carefully dig up one bulb and examine it. Check its size, and count the layers of papery skin. If the bulb seems well formed, the cloves are plump, and there are about three layers of papery covering, harvest your crop.
If there are four or more layers, let the plants grow a bit longer. When you’re ready to harvest, use a small garden trowel to loosen the soil around each bulb. Then dig up the entire plant and shake off loose soil.
Some gardeners save part of their crop for planting again. Others believe that doing so heightens the risk of disease and results in smaller bulbs the next year. Because you can easily buy garlic to plant at a garden center, there may not be a need to save any cloves, unless you cultivate unusual varieties.
After the harvest, your garlic can last for months — just don’t pack it in plastic. Get more tips on the next page.
For more information about the subjects covered on this page, try the links below:
- To learn about how to use garlic medicinally, read the article The Health Benefits of Garlic.
- For more information about how to plant herbs, try How to Grow an Herb Garden.
- If you wanted to know how to cook with garlic, our How to Cook Italian Food article has some great advice.
While garlic is quite easy to grow, here’s a list pointers to answer any lingering questions you might have:
One of the best plants to grow at home is garlic. This erotic vegetable is used to make a variety of dishes. The best thing about garlic is its wonderful health benefits. If you want to grow garlic at home, it is easy and inexpensive too. In this article, Boldsky shares with you tips on how to grow garlic in a pot or container:
The main thing about garlic is that it needs bright sunlight with well-drained and light soil. The bulbs of the garlic will also not tolerate water logging. To prevent water logging, you also need to dig in plenty of organic matter such as compost. This is important if want to grow garlic at home in a pot or a container.
Here is how you can grow garlic at home in a container or a pot:
Growing garlic in a mud pot at home:
Garlic needs a lot of sunlight for its growth. The soil in the pot should be well-dug. You need to use sandy loam soil as garlic grows best in this type of soil. To grow garlic in a pot at home, the pot needs to be of 20 cm or 8 inches in diameter. The depth of the pot to grow garlic should more or less same so that the roots are strong. After you have planted the pods of the garlic in the pot, cover it with a multi-purpose compost and also add a little fertiliser too.
One of the things to make note when you plant garlic in a pot is to place each of the cloves at a depth of 1 inch from each other. This space will allow the garlic bulbs to swell well. You should also keep in mind that the compost is moist at all times, especially during the hot season.
Growing garlic in a plastic container at home:
You need to get a big plastic pot to grow garlic at home. Garlic swells a lot in size and they need plenty of room to stretch out in the soil. Choose a plastic which is 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide, enough for it to swell. When you plant pods of garlic in the plastic pot, see to it that there are drainage holes at the bottom to allow the excess water to be released. Also, place the plastic container in an area which gets six hours of bright, direct sunlight.
- Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a close relative of onions and chives.
- It is a medicinal and culinary herb.
- Garlic forms bulbs that separate into many cloves.
- Each clove is covered with a white-purplish or pinkish, papery sheath.
Soil pH and fertility
Soil testing and fertilizer
- Have your soil tested.
- Garlic grows best in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil with pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
- Improve your soil’s organic matter content by adding well-rotted manure or compost in spring or fall.
- Do not use fresh manure as it may contain harmful bacteria and may increase weed problems.
- Prior to planting, till your soils to provide a loose growing bed for bulb growth.
- Garlic has a moderate to high demand for nitrogen, so you can incorporate urea before planting.
- Top dress as soon as shoots emerge, then again two to three weeks afterwards.
- Avoid applying nitrogen after the first week in May, or you may delay bulbing.
- You may not need additional nitrogen in the spring if you incorporated enough compost in the fall.
- Continuous use of high phosphorus fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 15-30-15, or high rates of manure or manure compost results in phosphorus buildup in the soil.
- If your soil tests high in phosphorus, use a low phosphorus (such as 32-3-10, 27-3-3, or 25-3-12) or no phosphorus (such as 30-0-10 or 24-0-15) fertilizer.
- Some runoff may occur with phosphate fertilizer. It can then become a major pollution concern in our lakes, rivers and streams.
- High levels of phosphorus support over-production of algae, which causes significant reduction in water quality.
Choosing garlic varieties
The mild climate of northern California grows most commercial garlic. These varieties of garlic will not grow well in Minnesota, and will develop a “hot” flavor.
When choosing garlic for your garden, use varieties adapted to cold climates.
Note that elephant garlic is a type of leek, not a true garlic.
- Softneck types include Artichoke and Silverskin.
- These varieties typically produce more cloves and are easy to braid.
- Softneck varieties do not grow a flowering stalk like the hardneck types. Climate can change this quality. A variety that is softneck in one location can form a flowering stalk in a different location.
Growing garlic from cloves
- To grow garlic, you must plant cloves. Purchase cloves from national or local garlic seed producers.
- Avoid planting cloves from garlic purchased at the grocery store. This garlic, primarily the softneck variety, does not do well under Minnesota conditions.
- Plant cloves in the fall, usually one or two weeks after the first killing frost.
- Roots and shoots will emerge from the cloves by the first hard freeze, but shoots will usually not emerge from the soil until the following spring.
- Separate individual cloves a day or two before planting.
- Plant cloves in double rows, six inches apart. Center the rows on beds, 30 inches apart. Plant cloves pointed side up, with the base of the clove two to three inches from the soil surface.
- Cover beds with three to four inches of leaf or straw mulch to prevent fluctuating temperatures during the winter and early spring, and to help control weeds.
- Remove mulch in the spring after the threat of hard freezes is over to help the soil warm up. You can also leave it in place to help with weed control and preserve soil moisture.
How to keep your garlic plants healthy and productive
- Proper watering will help growth of your garlic plants.
- Soak the soil thoroughly when watering, to a depth of at least one inch each week during the growing season.
- Sandy soils require more frequent watering.
- Stop watering two weeks before harvest to avoid staining bulb wrappers and promoting diseases.
- Control weeds early, they can easily overtake young garlic plants.
- Use mulch to reduce annual weed growth. Use straw free of weed seed as mulch.
- A thorough, shallow cultivation before reapplying straw mulch in the spring will reduce annual weed populations.
Insects are not a major problem with garlic, although onion maggot is a potential pest. Onion maggots bore into plant stems, causing the plants to turn yellow and wilt.
Garlic is vulnerable to several types of rot. Fusarium basal rot is the most common.
To avoid these diseases, plant only healthy cloves, manage weeds in the garden and take care not to injure garlic bulbs while working in the garden.
Plant garlic in an area where you have not planted onions, chives, leeks, shallots or garlic for the past four years.
For help diagnosing unknown problems, visit What’s wrong with my plant?
- Harvesting too early will result in small bulbs. Harvesting too late will result in cloves popping out of bulbs.
- Depending on variety and climate zone, harvest garlic between late June and late July.
- Begin harvesting when the lower leaves turn brown and when half or slightly more than half of the upper leaves remain green.
- Alternatively, you can pull a few bulbs and cut them in half. If the cloves fill the skins, then the bulbs are ready to harvest.
- Harvest the garlic plants with shoots and bulbs attached. Knock off any large clumps of soil.
- Put the plants in a warm, dry, airy place for three to four weeks to cure. This will dry the sheaths surrounding the bulbs, as well as the shoots and roots.
- After curing, cut the shoots one-half to one inch above the bulbs and the roots trimmed close to the bulb base.
- You can save garlic cloves from one crop to the next. Keep the biggest one for planting the following year.
Carl J. Rosen and Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturalist
Everything you need to know about growing garlic.
- Exposure: Full sun
- When to plant: Mid-autumn
- Pests and diseases to watch out for: Nematodes, rust
How to Plant Garlic
Gently pull apart cloves, planting each one pointy-side up about two inches deep and six inches apart. Choose healthy, intact cloves, not those that are squishy or have been sitting around on your kitchen counter too long (plus, garlic from the grocery store is often treated not to sprout, so it might not grow). Each clove will yield one head when it’s time to harvest the following summer.
- Softneck (consists of many small cloves, stores longer): New York White
- Hardneck or stiffneck (easier to peel, can eat the stems, called “scapes”): Russian Red, German Extra Hardy
How to Care for Garlic
Feed in the spring by top-dressing the planting bed with compost once the garlic has emerged (usually in late winter). Add ¼ cup of balanced fertilizer per two plants. Garlic doesn’t like competition, so weed regularly so your bulbs can grow to good size. Garlic tends to like somewhat dry soil in summer.
Sure, though it’s not going to form heads but instead will be eaten as “green garlic.” Trim off and eat the green shoots, like you would a scallion, when they reach 10 inches tall or so.
How do you grow garlic in pots?
Use a container that’s at least 12 inches deep, allowing about a gallon of soil per plant. Heads will be smaller than when grown in ground.
How do you grow garlic scapes?
Foodies love garlic scapes, the buds of hardneck garlic varieties; softneck varieties do not produce scapes. As the stem grows, it curls into a circle and ends with a pointed seedpod. Cut off these stems, and roast or sauté for delicate garlic flavor in dishes.
How do you know when it’s time to harvest?
Wait until about half the leaves have turned yellow or brown, then push a hand trowel into the soil next to the plant. Loosen the soil and lift up the whole plant. Don’t just yank it up and rip the stem off. Leave roots and stems on, and let it sit in the sun to cure for up to a few weeks on the garden bed or lawn (cover if it’s going to rain). You want to reduce the moisture content so it stores longer.
“Garlic is easy to grow and not needy like some other vegetables. Follow the tips, and you’ll get a decent harvest,” says Colin McCrate, founder of Seattle Urban Farm Company, author of Food Grown Right in Your Own Backyard and High-Yield Vegetable Gardening, and producer of the Encyclopedia Botanica podcast. “Once you’ve harvested garlic, keep air circulating around it by hanging it up, or it will become moldy. And never store it in a tight-lidded container.”
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Garlic is one of the easiest crops you can grow. In most regions of the country, garlic is planted in the fall. By that time, many summer crops have already been harvested, leaving some free garden space. Just remember that the garlic bed won’t be available for another type of crop until late next summer, when it’s time to harvest the garlic you planted the previous fall.
Choosing What Kind of Garlic to Plant
If you’re replanting garlic from your own stock, choose the biggest and best heads from the summer’s harvest. If purchasing, look for garlic sold specifically for planting. Garlic from the produce section at the supermarket may have been treated with a sprout inhibitor to prevent it from growing.
There are several types of garlic.
Hardneck garlic varieties produce a stiff stem that grows up through the center of the bulb. Compared to softneck varieties, then tend to have a sharper flavor, with more variation in flavor among the varieties. They’re hardier, too, making them a good choice for regions with very cold winters. Once harvested, the bulbs have a somewhat shorter shelf life than softneck varieties.
Softneck garlic varieties don’t produce a stiff central stem. This list the type of garlic you’ll find at most supermarkets. It has a relatively mild flavor. Softneck garlic is the best choice for regions with mild winters, and it’s the type to grow if you want to make garlic braids.
Elephant garlic resembles a giant head of garlic and, indeed, it does belong to the same genus, Allium. However, it isn’t a “true” garlic but rather is more closely related to the leek.
Six Steps for Planting Garlic
- Plan to plant garlic in fall about four to six weeks before the ground freezes.
- Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of at least 8″ and mix in some slow-release, granular organic fertilizer.
- Just prior to planting, break up the garlic heads into individual cloves, leaving as much of the papery covering on each clove intact as possible.
- Plant cloves 3″ to 4″ deep, orienting them so the pointy ends face up.
- Water gently to settle the soil, and then cover the bed with a 4″ to 6″ layer of straw. Even as air temperatures drop, the soil will stay warm enough for the newly planted cloves to establish roots before the ground freezes. Sometimes you’ll see some green shoots form in fall; that’s fine and won’t harm plants. They’ll begin growing in earnest in spring.
- Next spring and summer, keep the bed weeded and watered.
D ETERMINING when garlic is ready to harvest is one of the trickiest parts about growing it. If you harvest too soon the cloves will be small and underdeveloped (certainly usable but not as big and plump as possible). If you wait too long, as the heads dry the cloves will begin to separate and the head won’t be tight and firm (also not a disaster, but the cloves will be more vulnerable to decay and drying out so they won’t store as long).
Though it depends somewhat on the growing season and where you live, garlic is usually ready to harvest in late July. The slideshow below, with photos from my own garden, shows what to watch for. Properly curing the heads is also important and you’ll see that as well.
No other vegetable is so simple to harvest.
As far as I’m concerned, garlic gets the blue ribbon for backyard produce. It grows easily, tastes great, and takes up little room. Even those with small gardens can raise enough to be self-sufficient in garlic for a good part of the year.
All you have to do is plant the the right varieties at the right time and in the right soil. Then harvest when the timing is right and store correctly. Here are the steps:
1. Choosing Types of Garlic
If you look in a specialist catalog, you’ll find dozens of varieties, but for general purposes, the most important difference is between softneck and hardneck.
Softnecks get their name because the whole green plant dies down, leaving nothing but the bulb and flexible stems that are easy to braid. Hardnecks have a stiff stem in the center that terminates in a beautiful flower — or cluster of little bulbs — and then dries to a rigid stick that makes braiding impossible.
Softnecks, standard in grocery stores, are the easiest to grow in mild regions. They keep longer than hardnecks, but they’re less hardy and produce small, strong-flavored cloves. Hardnecks do best where there’s a real winter since they’re more vulnerable to splitting — or simply refusing to produce — in warm climates.
Gardeners in most of the U.S. can try some of both. Specialty sellers will suggest best bets based on your climate and tastes (check out your gardening zones here). It’s also wise to get some seed stock from your local farmer’s’ market. Whatever that garlic is, it’s growing where you are.
2. Planting Garlic
Mid-fall, plant garlic bulbs in loose, fertile soil that’s as weed-free as possible. Insert cloves root-side down about 8 inches apart in all directions, burying the tips about 2 inches down. Green shoots will come up; mulch around them with straw. After a hard freeze kills the shoots, draw the mulch over the whole bed.
In spring, pull the mulch back when the new shoots emerge. Give them a shot of mixed fish emulsion and liquid seaweed. Keep them weeded. Water only if the soil is dry 2 or more inches down, never pouring water into the crowns of the plants.
3. Cutting Garlic Scapes
I spent most of my gardening life cutting off the flowering scapes of hardneck garlic so they wouldn’t draw energy from the bulbs. Then I read a story about a garlic growing guru who said it didn’t matter a whit.
Well, it isn’t really much bother. Tender young scapes are delicious and older, curly ones look wonderful in the vase. I set up an experiment, allotting 30 spaces each, in two rows, and planting the same variety in both of them. When the garlic were about half-grown, we set about cutting the scapes, but only from one row of the plants. At harvest, after trimming, we got 5 pounds of garlic out of the cut row, 6.5 pounds out of the one we left alone.
Tips for Cutting Garlic Scapes
1. There’s no harm in taking a few to eat, but don’t wait until they’re large. Most of the scapes for sale are bigger than the 4 to 6 inches long; they should be that length for best flavor and texture.
2. You can cut some for a vase too, but don’t take them too soon. If you wait until the tops are well-developed, you might get a head of tiny garlic grains that can be used whole and unpeeled in place of minced garlic. Or you’ll find a clump of small round bulbs, called topsets, that can be stored all winter long and planted close together in early spring, producing the garlic equivalent of scallions.
4. Harvesting Garlic
Garlic varieties are divided into early, midseason, and late, depending on your climate zone and the weather during the growing year. Heat speeds them up, cold slows them down. Although the harvest window is wide if you plan to eat the garlic fresh, it’s narrow if you want to ensure maximum storage life.
The bulbs are ready when most of the lower leaves have browned. The upper ones will still look green. “Lift the bulbs” usually describes moving things like daffodils, but it’s also a good way to think about harvesting garlic. Those heads are more delicate than they seem.
Choose an overcast day when the soil is dry. Loosen the soil with a digging fork, inserting it well away from the heads, then lift them out of the row and place them in a flat carrier.
5. Curing Garlic
Let the whole plants dry in a single layer out of the sun, where it’s warm but not hot. When the outer skin is papery, brush off as much dirt as possible and clip the roots. Rush this a bit if you’re braiding garlic stems. If you wait until they’re completely dry, they tend to crack and break.
The finished garlic will still look dirty compared to anything commercial. Leave it that way because further cleanup can shorten storage life. If you can’t bear the way it looks, try removing the outer layer of wrapper.
6. Storing Garlic
The ideal temperature is between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate humidity and good air circulation, in the light, but they must be out of the sun. We keep our garlic stored in an unheated, but insulated, closet. Those less-fortunate in the storage department should avoid the refrigerator (excess cold leads to sprouting) and plastic bags, which can cause rot.
When it comes to planting garlic in the fall, a few simple tips will go a long way towards growing an incredible crop that is ready to harvest early next summer.
Garlic is one of our favorite crops of all to grow. In fact, we planted it in the fall in our very first garden some 11 years ago – and have never missed a year planting it since!
But even better, we continue to re-plant the same line of seed from those very first bulbs we pushed into the earth back in 2010. Not only is garlic easy to grow, but it gets better with each passing year as you select the best bulbs to replant from your harvest.
And it is certainly good that it grows so well, because we use it in just about everything! From salsa and pasta sauce, to homemade garlic bread and countless other dishes, we use our homegrown garlic in something nearly every day.
In fact, we even use it to help battle pests naturally outside as well, including a few cloves in our homemade hot pepper spray.
The Ease of Growing Garlic
So what does it take to grow a great crop of garlic? Actually, that may be the best part of all. Garlic is one of the easiest crops to plant and grow in the garden. It naturally repels most pests, and requires little maintenance. It also rarely needs watering or fertilizing.
With that in mind, here is a look at how to plant your own incredible crop this fall, including a short video tutorial near the end as well.
Planting Garlic – The Secrets To Growing A Great Crop
The best time to plant hardneck garlic in the Midwest and Northern states is in the early fall. Here in Ohio, we always plant our crop within the first few weeks of September.
One of our favorite things to plant each and every fall – our garlic crop!
That allows a month or two of cool weather growth for it to become established. It then goes dormant for the winter, and comes back to life in the spring. It is then usually ready for harvesting by late June or the first week of July.
Preparing The Garlic Seed For Planting – Soaking The Seed.
Each single clove of a garlic bulb is an individual seed. Once planted, it will then grow into a full bulb.
We select the largest of our bulbs that we harvest in June to become our “seed” in the fall. Quite simply, the larger the clove, the bigger the mature bulbs will be when you harvest. We grow a variety of garlic called Siberian hardneck. Not only does it grow well, it is excellent for overwinter storage. Product Link : Siberian Hardneck Garlic Cloves
To prepare the cloves for planting, separate each clove carefully. Always be sure to keep as much of the papery skin in tact as possible. The skin serves as a protective layer for the garlic, and keeps it from rotting until it sprouts.
A Little Secret – Pre-Soaking The Bulbs
To help promote sprouting and health, soak your bulbs overnight before planting. Fill a quart jar with water and add in a teaspoon of baking soda. Stir and then drop in the cloves to let them soak.
This soaking not only helps the garlic sprout, but also helps prevent ground rot. Fall can be a wet time in many areas of the country, and a little extra protection against overly wet soils can go a long way for garlic.
Preparing The Soil
Like most vegetables, garlic grows best in fertile, loose soil. Prior to planting, work in generous amounts of compost to help amend the soil.
Compost is the perfect partner for growing garlic. Not only will it help energize the soil with nutrients, it also helps to loosen the dirt to allow for good bulb growth. And just like with all root crops, loose soil can make a big difference between full sized produce, or stunted vegetables.
How To Plant Garlic
Garlic can be planted in traditional rows, raised beds or raised rows. The key is spacing. Bulbs should be spaced 4″ apart within rows and 4″ between rows.
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Begin by digging a trench 3 to 4 inches deep. Fill the bottom of the trench with about an inch of compost. As you plant, push each bulb gently down into the compost layer.
We then add in a teaspoon of worm castings around every bulb as we plant. It provide a great source of ready-to-use nutrients for the bulb. Ever since doing this a few years back, our bulbs have been simply amazing! It really is a great little secret to better bulb production.
When planting garlic, make sure to keep the pointy end of each garlic clove up, and the flat end down. The point tip is the sprouting end, and will allow for quick sprouting through the soil.
Finish by covering up with the cloves with remaining soil. Do not press the soil firm, simply cover by spreading the soil to fill the entire trench level with the surrounding soil.
We place a light 1″ covering of straw over our crop right after it is planted. This protects the ground from weeds seeds blowing in, but still allows the garlic to sprout. Once you have put on your light coat of mulch, water the crop in to help the bulbs and mulch settle in.
Mulching For Weed Control & Winter Protection – The Secrets To Planting Garlic
Once the crop has sprouted in the fall, we add a few more inches of additional straw mulch to help protect the crop through winter. You can also use shredded leaves as well, but whatever you do, mulch the crop!
One of the biggest secrets to growing mulch is to keep it from competing with weeds. Weeds compete for nutrients, and a weedy patch will keep yields of your garlic lower, and the bulbs you harvest smaller.
Garlic is a fairly drought resistant crop. Normal rainfall will usually keep it growing well. If you do experience extremely dry conditions for more than 10 to 14 days in the fall, water the crop to help it along.
Spring Maintenance – The Secrets To Planting Garlic
As spring arrives, the garlic crop will come out of dormancy and continue to grow. We usually add a bit more mulch to suppress weeds in the early spring. But other than that, the only maintenance required before harvesting is to keep the weeds out.
So how do you know when garlic is ready for harvesting? Depending on where you live, the harvest times can vary a bit. You will begin to see the tops of the crop begin to brown off in early summer. As soon as two-thirds of the garlic tops have browned off, the crop is ready to harvest and cure.
We hang our garlic harvest in the barn a few weeks, tying up the top stems and then hanging them from the rafters. Never wash off your garlic with water. Instead, allow it to dry and then brush off any remaining dirt before storing.
For us here in east-central Ohio, that is usually the first few weeks of July. It can certainly vary from late June to late July depending on your climate.
Once the garlic is harvested, it needs to cure for a few weeks to dry out and be ready for storage. One thing you do not want to do is wash your crop off! Allow the dirt around the cloves to dry off naturally – water can prematurely rot the crop as it dries.
We hang our crop up in the barn and let it air out. Usually within a few weeks, we can cut the heads off with a bit of the stem and they are ready to store.
Here is to planting and growing your own amazing crop of garlic this fall. Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.
Add a pot of this allium to your window ledge or in your outdoor garden.
Let’s start by saying this: You can grow garlic indoors, but you won’t get a head of garlic as you would when you plant cloves in the garden. What you’ll get will be garlic sprouts or greens, which are the green tops of a bulb (much like what happens when a bulb sprouts on your kitchen counter). These greens are not the same as green garlic, which is early spring garlic or immature garlic bulbs and their edible green stalks. They are still quite delicious and can be used as a seasoning or garnish, though—you’ll find their flavor is lighter and gentler than that of fresh garlic.
To grow entire heads of garlic, you’ll need to plant outdoors because, like other bulbs (think onions and daffodils), they need the cold winter dormancy to produce the scape (flower) and generate a head. “Garlic is a really easy crop to grow and it can be easily grown in pots or [a raised bed], with little maintenance,” says Samantha Foxx farm-her and beekeeper of Mother’s Finest Urban Farm. “If you are like me every dish needs garlic, so add garlic to your growing area!”
Planting and Growing Garlic Greens Indoors
To grow garlic greens indoors, plant three or four cloves in a pot filled with potting soil. Sit them on a sunny window ledge and water them lightly. The garlic greens will grow in just seven to 10 days and can be snipped. If you plan to have garlic greens on hand, you’ll need to keep up with planting new cloves in succession as the cloves will be exhausted once they have grown the greens.
Planting and Growing Garlic Outdoors
For outdoor growing, garlic likes a well-draining soul, with a PH of around 6.5 to 7, says Foxx. “If you have thin or sandy soil, adding amendments of healthy compost will be a plus to help with optimal growth of your garlic,” she says. “Also, aged animal manure can be a good addition to help this crop thrive and be well-fertilized during the fall months.” However, Foxx urges not to use unprocessed animal manure as it can spread disease to your plants.
Where to Plant Garlic
For outdoor gardening, it is best to grow garlic in a sunny space. “Full sun will be ideal for the best growing conditions and help it to thrive and grow into large beautiful bulbs,” she says. “Plant in a sunny area during fall,” says Foxx. “Make sure to separate or mark them, because they will need a longer time to mature.”
When to Harvest Garlic
Garlic is ready to harvest around seven to eight months after being planted, explains Foxx. “Some signs include the green leaves turning brown and the flower stems will get soft,” she says.