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Botanical name: Allium sativum

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Loamy

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Garlic is easy to grow and produces numerous bulbs after a long growing season. It is frost tolerant. Beyond its intense flavor and culinary uses, “the stinking rose” is good in the garden as an insect repellent and has been used for centuries as a home remedy.


  • Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended for most gardeners. Plant in the fall and you'll find that your bulbs are bigger and more flavorful when you harvest the next summer.
  • In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost. In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant.
  • Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
  • Plant cloves about one month before the ground freezes. 
  • Do not plant cloves from the grocery store. They may be unsuited varieties for your area, and most are treated to make their shelf life longer, making them harder to grow. Instead, get cloves from a mail order seed company or a local nursery.
  • Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Select a sunny spot.
  • Place cloves 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep, in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up).
  • In the spring, as warmer temperatures come, shoots will emerge through the ground.


  • Northern gardeners should mulch heavily with straw for overwintering.
  • Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (Young shoots can't survive in temps below 20°F on their own. Keep them under cover.)
  • Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size.
  • Weeds should not be a problem until the spring. Weed as needed.
  • Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly, especially if you see yellowing leaves.
  • Water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June).
  • A note on garlic scapes: Some folks love cooking the scapes (the tops of hardneck garlic). Whether you trim the scapes or let them keep growing is your preference. We like to stir fry scapes the way we cook green beans—similar with a spicy kick!


Garlic has very few problems with pests in the garden (in fact, its a natural pest repellent!), and also very few problems with the diseases that plague other veggies. White Rot is one concern, but you should also keep an eye out for the same pests that plague onions.

  • White Rot is a fungus that may attack garlic in cool weather. Not much can be done to control or prevent that problem except rotating your crops and cleaning up the area after harvesting. The spores can live in the soil for many years. The fungus affects the base of the leaves and roots.


  • Harvest time depends on when you plant, but the clue is to look for yellow tops. Harvest when the tops begin to yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry.
  • In Northern climates, harvesting will probably be in late July or August. In Southern climates, it will depend on your planting date.
  • Check the bulb size and wrapper quality; you don't want the wrapper to disintegrate. Dig too early and the bulb will be immature. Discontinue watering.
  • To harvest, carefully lift the bulbs with a spade or garden fork. Pull the plants, carefully brush off the soil, and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks. We hang them upside down on a string in bunches of 4 to 6. Make sure all sides get good air circulation.
  • The bulbs are cured and ready to store when the wrappers are dry and papery and the roots are dry. The root crown should be hard, and the cloves can be cracked apart easily.
  • Once the garlic bulbs are dry, you can store them. Remote any dirt and trim off any roots or leaves. Keep the wrappers on—but remote the dirtiest wrappers.
  • Garlic bulbs may be stored individually with the tops removed, or the dried tops may be braided together to make a garlic braid to hang in the kitchen or storage room.
  • Bulbs should be stored in a cool (40 degrees F), dark, dry place, and can be kept in the same way for several months. Don't store in your basement if it's moist!
  • The flavor will increase as the bulbs are dried.
  • If you plan on planting garlic again next season, save some of your largest, best-formed bulbs to plant again in the fall.

Recommended Varieties

There are three types of varieties of garlic: Softneck, Stiffneck, and Great-headed (Elephant). Most types are about 90 days to harvest.

  • Softneck varieties, like their name suggests, have necks that stay soft after harvest, and therefore are the types that you see braided. Especially recommended for those in warmer climes, as it is less winter-hardy than other types. Strong, intense flavor. Recommended varieties: 'Persian Star', 'Mother of Pearl'
  • Stiffneck varieties grow one ring of cloves around a stem, there is not a layer of cloves as there are in softneck varieties. They are extremely cold hardy, but do not store as well or long as other varieties. Flavor is more mild than softnecks. Recommended Variety: 'Carpathian'
  • Great-headed varieties are not recommended. They are less hardy, and more closely related to leeks than other varieties. Their flavor is more like onion than traditional garlic. Bulbs and cloves are large, with about 4 cloves to a bulb. 


Wit & Wisdom

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
–Yiddish proverb

Rub raw garlic on an insect bite to relieve the sting or itch.


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I'm new to growing garic and

By Elsa Petersen on August 30

I'm new to growing garic and i want to try to grow some indoors... I tried growing some on my kitchen counter last year... But i would like more advice such as... How big of a pot should i use, what type of potting soil should i use and how much fertilizer is recommended for indoor planting (if any)... I cant invest in a green house so i want to know if a kitchen counter top that has large windows pointing in the direction of the sun is good enough but i also live in Minnesota where winter last longer

If you are going to try

By Almanac Staff on August 31

If you are going to try growing garlic indoors, you just need a sunny windowsill. You want to use high-quality clovers from a farmers' market, not grocery garlic that's been treated.

Plant in a small yogurt container with some holes poled in the bottom. Fill container with organic potting soil to the top, and plant each clove an inch down, pointy end up. Keep soil moist but not soggy.
Either snip the greens when they grow 8 to 10 inches long (and replant new cloves) or wait many more months to get new cloves.

Today I harvested some

By Carolyn Hecht on August 26

Today I harvested some beautiful cloves of what I THINK are garlic. I just can't remember what I planted in that bed. I've goggled images of garlic plants and the tall, skinny, stem and the ball shaped bunch of teeny bluish flowers at the very top of the stem most certainly look the exact same as the pictures I found online. The cloves are large, measuring about an inch or more each. My problem is that I'm loathe to cook them and eat them unless I know for SURE that they're not the bulbs of some inedible, poisonous, fancy flower.

Anyone know if there are any flower plants that I might be mistaking these for?

Take it to your local

By Jo M on August 31

Take it to your local conservation district and they should be able to tell you what it is.

If you are not 100% sure that

By Almanac Staff on August 27

If you are not 100% sure that these are garlic cloves, then you are wise not to eat them. Off hand, I don't know of similar plants with those features, but I'd strongly recommend not eating them unless you have a positive ID.

I live in southern Ontario

By Martin S on August 22

I live in southern Ontario and plan to plant for the first time this fall. My bed is solely triple mix soil and I'm curious about fertilizing. This seems to be a topic not covered in any articles I've read. Any advice on what fertilizers can be used and when would be appreciated.

f you're planting garlic in

By Almanac Staff on August 23

f you're planting garlic in the fall, you can fertilize in the spring. Use a high-nitrogen organic fertilizers such as bloodmeal or a synthetic source of nitrogen. Fertilize again just before the bulbs begin to swell (around mid-May). This should help you grow bigger garlic.
Also, if you don't get enough rainwater, water garlic to a depth of 2 feet every 8 to 10 days if needed. Taper off on the water by middle of June.

Hi everyone, I'm a farmer in

By Upstate Anthony on August 8

Hi everyone, I'm a farmer in zone 5 New Berlin, NY to be exact. This will be my first year planting garlic, which type of garlic do you guys recommend? also, how many seeds or cloves will I need for two acres? Thank you for your help in advance guys.

Hi Anthony, Make sure that

By Almanac Staff on August 11

Hi Anthony,
Make sure that you plant a variety that will do well in upstate NY. Below is a link with suggestions of hardneck and softneck varieties. Also below is a website that has information about how many pounds you need to plant.

I live in Uganda will garlic

By Joseph Mugabo

I live in Uganda will garlic do better for me because my problem in the compost and our rains start march thru may and then Sept thru November. Kindly guide line me.

Send me a simple manual of

By Joseph Mugabo

Send me a simple manual of how to get started with Garlic growing.

Is it too late to plant now

By Nate in GA

Is it too late to plant now and harvest later this year?

Late September through

By Almanac Staff

Late September through November is the time to plant garlic in Georgia.

I just found this site and

By MikeG

I just found this site and appreciate all the great info, thanks! I live in the northeast and And have been planting my recycled bulbs for the past few years in the fall. This spring my wife brought home an elephant garlic from the grocery store literally the size of a baseball. On a whim I planted one of the cloves and I just harvested a huge bulb from my garden. I want to plant some of the cloves again but I'm not sure if I should wait till next spring or plant in the fall for this type of garlic? Thank you, Mike

Elephant garlic isn't really

By Almanac Staff

Elephant garlic isn't really garlic, but it has a mild garlic taste. If you harvest in the summer, you can replant a clove in the late fall. Elephant garlic will also grow as a perennial if you leave it in the ground.

Love this site. Very

By chattycathy4444

Love this site. Very helpful. I just harvested a bumper crop of garlic. You note to store cool - 40ish degrees. I stored in my basement in brown paper bags...some of the garlic dried up...nothing to the bulb. Can it be stored in the fridge? I have so much and I want to keep some for replanting in the fall. Thanks!

Thanks, Cathy! The

By Almanac Staff

Thanks, Cathy! The refrigerator may be too cold for garlic. Better to store in a cool, dry place in well-ventilated containers, such as mesh bags. It may be that the paper bag hindered circulation.
Before you do that, though, spread the heads on newspaper in a well-ventilated place out of sunlight for 2 to 3 weeks, to let them "cure." That means until the skins are papery. Then store them.
If you pick this summer and plan to plant this fall, all of your heads should make it to planting time.

We live in Ontario

By Zelda Cooper

We live in Ontario Canada
Have been planting garlic for several years this year the tops look like they are being eaten off they go into the scapes and l see white on the stems seen some spiders is this what is doing the damage thanks in advance for your help hoping not to loss all my plants

Hi, Zelda: This is really

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Zelda: This is really hard to diagnose remotely. You could have a disease, such as mildew, or you could have a pest, which would attract spiders. Try giving your scapes a good spraying with a wash of 1 part dish liquid to 15 parts water. Wait a day. Do it again. Wait a day. Do  it again. Observe closely between washings. What do you see? Then be ready to apply an organic pesticide/fungicide as directed. Good luck!

When do I cut the flowering

By Bobby Owen

When do I cut the flowering heads off my garlic?

Hi, Bobby, I tend to cut them

By Diane RP

Hi, Bobby,
I tend to cut them off after they have made a loop. Cut as close to the leaves as possible without cutting the leaves. Each variety produces the flowering heads at different times, so you have to watch for them. This year the time from emerging to looping was about 5 days (we've had a really dry spring, which is different for us). Normally, it takes about 10 days or so to loop.
I hope that helps,

Hi, This is my first attempt

By GaryF

This is my first attempt at planting garlic. I purchased my garlic from a farm last fall. They recommended I plant this garlic type since that is what they plant. The bulbs were very large and had about 8 cloves per bulb. I planted last fall in a raised bed of mushroom soil. I mulched it heavily, and covered it with an insulated blanket. Luckily I did since this was one of the worst winters we have had in northeast PA in many years. The garlic stocks look very healthy and are about 2 feet tall and nearly an inch thick at the base. The garlic scapes have just emerged and have yet to curl. Should I cut the garlic scapes now? If I do, will this help the bulb grow larger? Out of curiosity, I dug the dirt away on one of my plants and the bulb seems somewhat small in comparison to the stalks. The bulb is slightly larger than the stalk. So, am I being impatient? Is this typical? When will the garlic be ready to harvest?

Hi Gary, Some people

By Almanac Staff

Hi Gary,

Some people recommend to cut the scapes and others say it doesn't matter. It will not hurt to cut the tops off right before they start to curl. You can use the scapes in cooking. Start harvesting when the tops start turning yellow and start to fall over. In the northern states it's usually late July or early August.
Read our harvest/storage section above for more information.

Thanks for the reply and the

By GaryF

Thanks for the reply and the great information. A few days ago I cut off a few of the scapes and made a pesto with it. Was very good. Looks like I'll be harvesting the remainder of the scrapes this weekend.

I I planted my garlic in the

By First timer

I I planted my garlic in the fall. I have babied if and all seemed to be going well. I've been waiting for the scapes to come up. The finally started emerging and along with them are sprouts that look like chives. On some of my plants the chives have busted out of the side of the stalk. I dug up a couple and the cloves have sprouted. What have I done wrong? Should I go ahead and harvest my whole crop before the all sprout? Are they ruined?

Have been harvesting and

By mkg1947j4c13

Have been harvesting and replanting for several years now from plants that were here when I purchased this home--my question is about the small brown bulbs that appear on the sides of and in the root system of most of my garlic//two to six or seven per "most" of my plants. I've added stock from several nurseries and some just from the grocery store, but haven't really kept them separate. I usually have a one lb. coffee can full of these bulbs when I get it all pulled up--I plant them and I 'believe' I get plants from them--I'm a bit hap-hazard in this--raised beds and just stick them in the ground, in and around the cloves that i re-plant each year--I've never seen any reference to these 'pods'--is it just the type of garlic or do most garlic's do this? OR?? Are these possibly not really garlic?? I cut, eat, use, and give away the scapes, so I know some are garlic. I've got a large planting of elephant(I know its not really garlic) but have spanish roka and several others I've planted. What are the bulb/pods at the root system of the plants?? Thanks, M

The are called garlic bulbils

By Jay Young

The are called garlic bulbils and you tend to get them with elephant garlic. I only ever get them on my elephant garlic, never on 'true' garlic varieties.

Most garlic varieties do not

By Almanac Staff

Most garlic varieties do not produce fertile seed and are propagated by individual cloves from the garlic bulb. We do not know what the small brown "bulbs" are that you are finding in the roots. Contact your extension service for more insight. almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services

Last year I bought a lot of

By sean62mom

Last year I bought a lot of fresh garlic from a farm and kept it in a brown paper bag in the basement. Two weeks ago I got near the bottom of the bag and noticed some had started to sprout... So I planted them...a few I planted completely covered, a few u left the sprouts out....they all are growing but my question is...1...how do I know they are good still as some of the sprouts have turned yellowish.... 2...when would or should I considerably harvesting them and finally 3...what's the best way to keep garlic all winter long

Approximately 3 years ago my

By Curtis McElroy

Approximately 3 years ago my grandaughter went into her yard and pulled a bunch of garlic from arond a tree. There were no bulbs but garlic tasted great. I brought some of them home and planted them with space to mature. I am now getting garlic bulbs as big as a baseball. The shake is approximately 1 inch thick. Some bulbs come out like an onion but still taste just a good garlic.

I always plant my organic


I always plant my organic garlic in the Fall in zone 8 South Carolina.
I have over 20 varieties & more than 400 cloves.
Most of the time I plant in Oct., I did get a little burn this winter, but every plant looks good now.
I had a few bulbs (all cloves still together) in the ground last year & they sprouted in August, so I lift them be to see what would happen. More then likely they will be fine just small peanut size, but I have not dug them yet.

I'm in SC also. Last October,

By Matt Durham

I'm in SC also.

Last October, I planted some ajo rojo. everything seemed fine, until the tips began to yellow and fall. I checked, and the bulbs are very small with badly developed cloves.

Do you know what I did wrong?

This is my first time with garlic.

Hi there! I see you live

By Amy C. Lane

Hi there!

I see you live somewhere in SC. I am not a gardner however I do have a tomatoe plant growing nicely in a 25 gal. pot. I realize it's too late now for summer production, but I was thinking about Garlic and was looking for some guidance. What type of garlic do you plant, where do you purchase it, and do you think I could grow garlic in another large pot like my tomatoes? Our soil is all clay so an actual garden would be near impossible and a lot of work since my husband wont eat 99% of vegetables. (his loss). Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hi. Iam also from Uganda i


Hi. Iam also from Uganda i planted garlic in M ARCH-2015 i exepact the harvest in June 2015. Thanks go head and teach us.

I live in arkansas and A

By Jenjen08

I live in arkansas and A friend gave me some garlic a couple of years ago. I planted it and it grows well every year. This is the second yearvit has come back. I've never harvested it. I kind of like the big purple flower that shoots up. My question is, will it still be ok to hardest and consume this year?

Hi there! I planted my garlic

By JosieTchir

Hi there! I planted my garlic last fall. It ended up having some sprouts Pop up before winter and I tried to mulch and insulate it as best as possible but unfortunately the wind blew a lot of it away befor the snow came. I went out to check it tonight and it looks like the sprouts are dead and pulled right out as I was taking the straw off.. Is that okay? At first I was worried so I dig one up and the garlic was kind of mushy and smelled a bit off. Is it normal for them to be mushy? Thanks so much for your help!!!

It sounds like your bulbs are

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your bulbs are rotting, possibly due to winter conditions which encouraged disease, or the roots had been sitting in soil that was too moist. You can keep an eye on them to see if they recover, but if you see signs of mold, discard them. Meanwhile, you might want to plant garlic in a different area of the garden (not near your current ones, in case it is a disease), or in containers.
Here is a page that talks about different diseases of garlic:

I am in Arkansas. I had no

By Gardening in AR

I am in Arkansas. I had no clue that garlic was supposed to be planted in the fall. I planted in early spring just after the last frost. I started researching how to know when it is ready for harvest and everything I find refers to a fall planting. My plants look wonderful and are growing great. Will they still produce viable bulbs and, if so, when should I expect to be able to harvest? Thank you for any and all assistance.

Your garlic should be ready

By boulderbelt

Your garlic should be ready around September, the bulbs will be small but you will get some harvest.

Garlic is ready when 2/3 of the leaves have turned yellow

Garlic does most of it's root/bulb growth after the equinox and before the solstice which is why spring planted garlic doesn't size up well.

I planted my garlic in the

By Marycia

I planted my garlic in the fall on the West Coast. Its end of April I see nothing. I dug around and see no bulbs. When should they come up?

Spring garlic usually comes

By Almanac Staff

Spring garlic usually comes up around March or April. If you can not find any bulbs, perhaps a squirrel or other animal has gotten to them?

I was very excited to plant

By Not so Farmer Dave

I was very excited to plant garlic for the first time last fall. I used a greenhouse setup to reduce the amount snow on the bed. We also had a very early spring in this part of Canada And am very pleased to see the garlic plants grow. Early April and the plant stocks are a good 8-10 inches.
Through the winter I did more reading about growing garlic and realized that harvesting wouldn't happen likely until July. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I used a large section of my garden which means my garden will be very late or not happening This year.
My question is, if I keep my greenhouse setup over top of the plants through the cooler spring months, could this accelerate the garlic growing season? Do I have any hope in an early harvest?

Yes, Dave, what were you

By Almanac Staff

Yes, Dave, what were you thinking? Hang on, it may not be so bad.
As we're sure you know: "To everything there is a season," and garlic, too, must have its own. We can find no substantiation for garlic growing/maturing faster in a greenhouse; most growers indicate that they remove it from the greenhouse to the outdoors in warm weather. If your "greenhouse setup" is a temporary cover, that would mean lifting if off the garlic.
It seems that you have a few options: Leave the garlic, harvest it, and sell, trade, or give away heads as starter cloves for next season. Trades might get you the fresh produce you seek, in this case from neighbors' beds. Sales of garlic heads for growing, especially unusual varieties, seems to be a booming business. It's easy to grow and (almost) everyone uses it. You could, depending on space and what else you want to grow, plant around the garlic. Shallow-root plants, like lettuce greens, might do. Possibly peas. You could enlarge your bed. Start a new one. Or plant in containers. Finally, we regret to suggest that you could pull some garlic up early to make space.
Just trying to help, Dave. Best wishes—

We live in North Carolina and

By Jnet

We live in North Carolina and planted hardneck garlic in late October early November. The garlic sprouted early this winter and we have no scapes yet but the tips of the leaves are turning yellow. What should we do? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Hi. I am also from NC and

By Sherly

Hi. I am also from NC and planted garlic last Fall for the 1st time and it is doing really well! Looking forward to a bountiful harvest this summer! A good feeding of fish emulsion now would be the thing to do. A good source of nitrogen. I will do this every 2 weeks until end of April. Hope this helps! :-)

Check the soil moisture: too

By Almanac Staff

Check the soil moisture: too much or too little water may turn leaf tips yellow. Also, too little nitrogen (garlic likes soil rich in nitrogen when it starts to grow; less so as it matures). Temperature fluctuations can also cause yellowing tips. There are also a few pests and diseases that may cause yellowing leaves, such as onion maggots, nematodes, and various fungal rots. If there are just a few leaves that have yellow tips, then most likely you don't need to worry. If the situation progresses, however, probably something more serious is going on. For more information, see:

I am going to be planting

By Ari

I am going to be planting garlic in kentucky my guestion is for farming purposes is kentucky considered south? This will help me plan for the future.

In terms of planting, it

By Almanac Staff

In terms of planting, it really depends on where you live in Kentucky. The state is mostly in plant hardiness zone 6a.  If you're looking for planting dates for your zip code, see our Best Planting Date chart by crop here:

Hello, I just bought 6 garlic

By B.Moses

Hello, I just bought 6 garlic plants already planted with 12 inches of green showing on top. Should I wait to plant these plants until all frost has passed or plant them now?? I live in Oregon. Thank you very much.

Garlic plants are fairly

By Almanac Staff

Garlic plants are fairly hardy. If you are not expecting any severe frosts, it should be OK to plant them out. Or, you can wait until after the last expected frost, especially as they are already in pots.

Ha, ha. I've never grown


Ha, ha. I've never grown garlic before this year. I ordered 3 different varieties from a well respected nursery and planted in fall as directed. Trouble is I didn't separate the bulbs - I just planted them whole. I think I am reading here that you are suppose to separate them. They all have scapes but no flowers, some are droopy but still green. What should I do?

Hi Michelle, Yes, you are

By Almanac Staff

Hi Michelle,
Yes, you are supposed to plant cloves and each clove will grow into a head of garlic. You can carefully dig up a few of the heads that you planted and see if you can divide them easily. Then replant the cloves in the garden.

This is my first year

By Mando

This is my first year planting garlic. Today I unknowingly planted the entire bulb. Since its late now I'll get up in the morning and dig up the garlic and replant them correctly. Will the still be ok?

I grow garlic every year and

By shellvee

I grow garlic every year and buy my bulbs from a reputable organic garden. I noticed that there are small black shiny bugs on the leaves. I have looked all over the internet and cannot find anything about these bugs. From what I have learned they could be scale? I was able to smash them by hand but I have a lot of garlic plants. I live in Sonoma County, CA and it has been a warm winter. Any advise? Thanks so much.

That sounds like black

By Almanac Staff

That sounds like black aphids. They could spread a garlic virus. Here's remedy to try:
• Mix vegetable oil and liquid soap in a 5 to 1 combination (5 parts oil to 1 part soap) in a jar. Cover and shake to blend. Add 2 tablespoons to a half gallon of water and spray on the garlic greens in morning or evening, not in the heat of the day. Soak the greens, letting the remedy run down to/into the ground. You will effectively suffocate them.
BTW, always shake the jar before adding any of the mix to water.

Sometime last fall we threw


Sometime last fall we threw an old head of garlic purchased from the grocery store in our compost bin. It has since sprouted and the scapes look very healthy. We are about to start planting for our spring garden and I am wanting to transport the garlic into our beds. A few questions:
1. Since the garlic is now fairly well established, is it to risky to move it?
2. If it is okay to move, would it also be okay to try and separate the cloves?
3. Since it was purchased from the grocery store, am I risking introducing disease into my beds even if the scapes look extremely healthy?

Hi ADH, You can transplant

By Almanac Staff

You can transplant the garlic. Dig down to make sure you get all the roots. Seperated the cloves only if they come apart easily. You should not have any problems with disease.
Good luck!

There was garlic here when I

By Debbie Borden

There was garlic here when I moved here 20+ yrs. ago & I've spread it around - it grows great. It has the purple flowers.
Three questions:
It doesn't have much flavor. Is there anything I can do?
If I start another type will they cross?

Most important: I have cut the leaf stalks in the winter when they have gotten about 10" high & used them in cooking. I only used the bottom few inches, 1/2 white, 1/2 green. Has anyone tried this? Is it safe? They do make a nice garlic butter w/ carrot slivers on pasta.

There was garlic here when I

By Debbie Borden

There was garlic here when I moved here 20+ yrs. ago & I've spread it around - it grows great. It has the purple flowers.
Three questions:
It doesn't have much flavor. Is there anything I can do?
If I start another type will they cross?

Most important: I have cut the leaf stalks in the winter when they have gotten about 10" high & used them in cooking. I only used the bottom few inches, 1/2 white, 1/2 green. Has anyone tried this? Is it safe? They do make a nice garlic butter w/ carrot slivers on pasta.

Hi Debbie, See Q&A below

By Almanac Staff

Hi Debbie,
See Q&A below about flavor. Garlic does not cross pollinate so you can plant different varieties in your garden. The tops of garlic are called scapes and are a wonderful addition to many dishes.

My father has been growing

By Iatola

My father has been growing garlic for several years. Harvesting and re-planting. The plants have always come up beautifully, but the garlic does not have any flavor. Any idea of what would be causing this and if it is possible to fix or if the bulbs are trash now?

Garlic flavor depends on

By Almanac Staff

Garlic flavor depends on several things. Hardnecks tend to have a stronger, more robust flavor than softnecks. The actual variety of either of these will also affect the taste. Elephant garlic (really a leek) has a mild flavor.
Some say the bigger the bulb, the less flavor. Overwatering, or watering or fertilizing too close to harvest, might also affect flavor. Temperature and other environmental conditions are also factors, and can make a normally strong garlic mild or vice versa. Garlic will increase in flavor the longer it is stored, although some varieties are better than others for storage.

Usually garlic becomes

By digginindirt

Usually garlic becomes tasteless if it has been over fertilized. You can still plant the cloves from your garlic bulb and either not fertilize at all, or only once (around may).

hi i planted a garlic in

By Magi

hi i planted a garlic in winter and not sure when to pull it out and its been 1 week and 1 day and its growing fast what do i do?

Harvest when the top begins

By Almanac Staff

Harvest when the top begins to yellow and fall over. You can also use the green top in cooking. It has a garlicky flavor. See the tips on this page on how to grow and harvest garlic.

can garlic grow in Guyana

By davendra budhoo

can garlic grow in Guyana

I live on the kenai peninsula

By nate

I live on the kenai peninsula in Alaska. I want to plant garlic next fall (2015). How much mulch (inches) should I put on top of my raised beds?

Hi, Nate: This really depends

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Nate: This really depends on where you are on the peninsula and whether your site is exposed to very harsh winter weather or not so much so. The simple answer is 4 to 5 inches of wood chip and/or bark mulch. You should also bank some up against the sides of your raised beds, too, if possible. Be sure to get your garlic into the ground before the soil gets too cold. Your first frost is usually around October 8, so plan on at least a month before that. Incidentally, we assume that you mean wood mulch. Technically, the word "mulch" means anything that is so used, such as hay, seaweed, etc., for each of which the depth would be different. Way to plan ahead!

hi I'm from west Virginia and

By Cecil Miller

hi I'm from west Virginia and live in the Philippines they have no winter or fall here and they harvest everything they can grow twice a year my question is how long will it take to grow garlic here ?

I live on the coast of Maine.

By Michele Rosenfeld

I live on the coast of Maine. I planted my garlic around October 15th, mulched it with the straw/hay mix ,the one heated to kill seeds, and it is November 10th and it is sprouting. Should I worry about it? Thanks!

Your garlic most likely will

By Almanac Staff

Your garlic most likely will be fine. Sometimes if garlic is planted a little too early in fall (which yours wasn't--usually plan on planting about 4 weeks before the ground freezes), or if after fall planting there is a period of mild fall/winter weather, the bulb will sprout. Leave the sprouts alone; they might die off in the cold weather. But as long as the bulb is protected with mulch from freezing and thawing, in most cases, the plant should be fine. In spring, the bulb should have a good root system to sprout again.

How late can you plant garlic

By Gary R. Yetter

How late can you plant garlic cloves in Zone 6. I live in Southern New Jersey, 20 miles north of center city Philadelphia. Its now All Saints' Day, can i plant yet this week? Can I plant Softnecks and Hardnecks in the Fall in my zone. Thanks!! :)

Hi, Gary, You can plant

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Gary,
You can plant garlic until the ground is frozen. This week should be fine. Cover with leaves or other mulch.

I live in Chicago in a garden

By Chicago Catt

I live in Chicago in a garden apartment. I have no green space (officially). There is a bit of land right outside my kitchen window where I can "sneak" a planter to plant the two heads of Sinnamahone that I just got from a friend. Never having grown garlic before, I have a few questions. 1. Would a deep/wide pot be a better container or a window box style planter? 2. The area doesn't get much sun. Will that be a problem now in the fall? 3. We are supposed to have a harsh winter again. How cold is too cold? When should I pull the planter in so that the cold doesn't kill the bulbs? 4. Is potting soil a good medium on its own or do I need to amend the soil in any way? Thanks in advance!

Fall is the perfect time to

By Almanac Staff

Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic outside -- for a harvest next summer. We'd suggest growing in a pot that's 8 to 15 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. Use multi-purpose compost and incorporate some fertilizer. Sun or partial shade should be OK. Make sure the pot is in a sheltered area (from winds). Plant each one-inch deep and 4 inches apart (and not too close to the container edge). Add more compost on top for protection.

I planted some garlic, not

By connie ormsby

I planted some garlic, not sure what kind it is, it is all one bulb, looks like an onion, what is it? And do I wait for it to flower? Or is it done, still has the green leafs on it, a little bent over,Idont want them to go bad.....help

There are several types of

By Almanac Staff

There are several types of garlic: softneck, hardneck, elephant (which is really a leek), and many garlic varieties, so unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to tell you what type yours is. Softnecks are best for southern climates and have more cloves than hardnecks, which work will in northern climates. Elephant garlic forms a large bulb with a few large cloves. Those garlic types that "flower" (actually, produce scapes) can produce small bulbils at the top of the scape; these can be planted and most will form a single bulb (called a round) with just one clove, the first year. (Rocamboles may produce several cloves the first year.) Harvest the round, cure, and replant in fall and they will produce a slightly larger bulb with more cloves. If you had a single bulb with just one clove, and it was indeed garlic, it might have been one of these first-year rounds derived from a bulbil planted the previous year. In this case, after this year's growing season, it should have more cloves when you harvest it.
Not all garlic will produce flowering stems--most softneck types will not; hardnecks will. If you don't see a scape at this stage, and it has been growing all season, do not wait for it to flower, as it might not. Because it is still green, keep it growing until the leaves begin to yellow and dry and begin to fall over. Don't wait until all leaves on the plant dry, but watch for when about a third or so of the leaves have yellowed and fallen over. The longer you wait, the larger the bulb, but the more likelihood that the bulb will split its wrapper, which causes it not to last as long in storage. If you are eating the cloves right away, then waiting a little longer would be fine. But if you are planning to store the bulbs, harvesting it a little earlier would be best.

I heard that since im in so

By chris Hopkins

I heard that since im in so cal i can plant garlic all year since we dont or have never frozen lol? I s this true and when ca ni reharvest it?

In southern California,

By Almanac Staff

In southern California, gardeners usually plant in fall, but can also plant in late winter and early spring. Or, you can do all three for succession plantings. Plant in light, sandy soil.

no i planted my garlic bulb

By Laura.Thomson

no i planted my garlic bulb october will it be ok

Planting 2 year old cloves?

By Betty Coleman

Planting 2 year old cloves? I have many bulbs left over from my harvest last year. They have been stored over the winter and are now getting a little soft. Would it be OK to plant these cloves?

Hi Betty, You can plant the

By Almanac Staff

Hi Betty,
You can plant the cloves. If they are too shrivelled and soft they may not be as strong a plant but they will root and may produce smaller bulbs next spring.

I live in Louisiana and was

By Kalyn Akers

I live in Louisiana and was given some garlic. I wanted to use it in my garden near my pumpkin and cabbage plants because I am having trouble with bugs eating my plants and I read that garlic is an insect repellant. I don't think September is the ideal time for planting garlic in the south, but my main goal is to ward off the bugs. I understand the garlic might not grow, but would planting the pods still work as a repellant at any time of year?

If you are not planting the

By Almanac Staff

If you are not planting the garlic for eating, then yes, go ahead and plant it to ward off pests.

I've tried to grow garlic

By Laurie 289

I've tried to grow garlic several times in pots. When the scapes got to be about a foot tall I trimmed them down to about Two to three inches and both times the garlic died. It was locally grown garlic that I used. Any advice?

We're not sure what might be

By Almanac Staff

We're not sure what might be going on, as long as the leaves were still green and healthy on the bulb, even after the curly scape was removed. Be sure that your container is deep and wide, and has drainage holes at the bottom. Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Perhaps try cutting the scape earlier, when it is about 2 inches high, or leave it on the plant. Hardneck garlics prefer cold climates; plant cloves in the fall and provide winter protection (if the containers are outdoors), or plant in spring after threat of frost has passed.

I have never planted garlic

By Lisa1234

I have never planted garlic before and this year have planted garlic seeds. I'm getting lots of chive looking greens. Will a bulb ever produce or do I need to start over with cloves next season? I live in New England.

Hi Lisa, My true seed garlic

By Leslie@NEPortlandBungalow

Hi Lisa,

My true seed garlic is about a year old. Looked like grass, or chives over the summer, then died back. Now it's sprouted up ever taller than before. I've read 2-3 years before you can harvest it. I plan on harvesting more seeds this year, so I can plan more seeds, and eventually will have three small beds going in rotation.

"Ever" is the key word, here,

By Almanac Staff

"Ever" is the key word, here, Lisa.
Garlic by seed will take years/seasons to turn into true bulbs with useful cloves. (How many? Figure seven or eight—years—at least.)
To have garlic in one season, go to a nursery or garden store, even maybe a feed store (our "local" is an Agway for loose cloves, but garlic is even sold in packs) this fall; that's when they become available. Buy as many as you like, then plant them in good organic soil in the fall—October, November... And mulch them and forget about them. Even if you see green shoots, an indication that it was a little too early to plant (which has happened to me) leave them alone.
Next spring, true shoots will appear and thrive. It's really hard to get garlic wrong—and it couldn't be easier. All you really need to do is keep the plants weeded.

This is my second year with

By Lauriedell

This is my second year with hard neck garlic. Last year the bottom leaves turned brown so I knew it was time to harvest. This year the tops are all brown and I am one week past harvest time of last year. However we have had a very wet summer in wisconsin. So, so I harvest or give them an extra week?

If the tops are brown it's

By Almanac Staff

If the tops are brown it's time to harvest the garlic. If you wait longer the bulbs may become overripe and the cloves may start separating from one another.

I just found your site and it

By Dan Williamson

I just found your site and it looks awesome. Thanks!

this is my first year with

By ackobraw5

this is my first year with garlic and I am getting "too much" info. Please tell me what to do with the white tops that look like there little garlic cloves inside. Can I store there and replant them for next years crop. I live in Michigan. Thank you in advance

The white tops hold garlic

By Almanac Staff

The white tops hold garlic "bulbils"—tiny garlic bulbs that could, if replanted over several years, become edible heads.
You could also remove the greens stems, bulbils and all, cutting somewhere low on the straight potion of the stem; you want to remove the curl. This stem is a garlic "scape"—and it is edible. Ct up scapes into 1-inch or so pieces, gave them a light coating of olive oil, and roasted them in the oven (around 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes)—similar to the way you might roast asparagus. You an eat them as a vegetable side or put them into just about anything, from omelets to salads to soups.
We should mention that because you are removing the seed element, you are enabling the clove underground to mature into a good size. If you leave the scape, with bulbils on, the plants sends energy to the bulbils.
Then use cloves of the mature garlice for next year's crop.

I've been growing both

By Gretchen Sudlow

I've been growing both hardneck and softneck garlic successfully in Northern CA for close to 20 years. The last 3 years, the green leaves have gotten a severe rust in late spring that makes the leaves die. The bulbs stop developing at that point. It's the worst this drought year- the past 2 springs were very wet. What can I do to discourage the rust in my organic garden?

Rust is a sporadic disease

By Almanac Staff

Rust is a sporadic disease that probably overwinters on garlic and volunteer Allium crops. The recommendation for managing it is rotate your crop/sm specifically rotating out of Allium crops for 2 to 3 years.
Rust develops in moist conditions, so it's important not to overwater.
In future, you can spray plant with neem oil before the rust appears and that may prevent the spores from taking hold.
We hope this helps.

I live in Kensington CA near

By mic.jor

I live in Kensington CA near San Francisco and some red wine colored aphids have been infesting in the spring and neem oil stopped them cold and they never came back. They like garlic and onions and may be spread through local supply system. Once you control the ants in your garden everything falls in place.

my first try @

By T.M. 44

my first try @ 'garlicking'...planted n fall of '13.....sprouts now (july 9, '14), r approx.15-20 "....i've picked,dubiously 4/6 w/o bn impressed....how long should i wait...what r tell-tale signs besides the garlic saying 'pick me! pick me!' can i use 'em 4 this fall...also, i've read that hanging upside-down (garlic, not me) 4 couple weeks outside??? oh well,practice makes.......BETTER?....P.S. TOLD NOT to cut scapes bcause of nutrient additives that come from them to the bulbs...getting all kind of true/untrue??? info...confusing 2 say the most....happy gardening..and great luck to us, the one's who sweat ,the blood, sweat and tears 2 do our finest...p.s.-anyone know tips on compost/i think ican make one solo!!!

I think I can answer some of

By Lisa Gehrig

I think I can answer some of your questions. I am assuming that you have hardneck garlic. If so then......Take one of the bulbs of the garlic you have already pulled and cut it in half. Look at the cloves. Are they all kind of smashed together with no paper/skin in between them? If so you pulled them too early. The best way I have found is to wait until the plant has about 2/3 of the leaves dead from the bottom with a few green ones at the top. If the garlic are yelling at you to pick them....do not listen to them. They have no brains and you are smarter than they are LOL. Cure the garlic for a few weeks (3-6). I have cured mine on newspaper on cardboard and I hang them from the leaves and the bulb hanging down.I have not mastered braiding hardnecks. Leave room around them for air to circulate. NO SUN. it changes the flavor. Dry them in a shaded or dark, dry, warm, area. After curing, open one.

If you have some nice, fully formed, cloves in the bulb and they have some paper around them then you should be able to plant them in the fall for next years crop. Plant the big cloves, Eat the small cloves.

Scapes. You will find many opinions about whether to cut them or leave them. I cut mine as I do believe you get bigger bulbs if you do. I have been cutting mine for several years and i have been getting bigger bulbs every year. i am content to cut them.....Plus I like to eat them if I cut them before they curl.
I hope this does not come too late to help you.

I live in Southern California

By Bobette Johnson

I live in Southern California and planted my garlic in pots. I have always had great success planting the grocery store garlic. I planted in the fall, and my plants looked beautiful while growing. Today they all looked ready to harvest, so I pulled them, and none of them formed bulbs. We had a very warm winter, not really a winter at all,. I would assume that is why they never formed? Also, we can still eat the garlic that hasn't formed cloves ? It smells great!!

Please see above. "Do not

By Almanac Staff

Please see above. "Do not plant cloves from the grocery store. They may be unsuited varieties for your area, and most are treated to make their shelf life longer, making them harder to grow. Instead, get cloves from a mail order seed company or a local nursery."

What you're saying doesn't

By Leslie@NEPortlandBungalow

What you're saying doesn't apply to the original comment- the varieties have been well suited for the region, clearly. And treated or not, they grew well. One bad year doesn't mean anyone needs to shell out money for other cloves.

We have been growing garlic

By Alaska Gardener

We have been growing garlic from cloves purchased from a nursery for several years now. We have had good success planting in the fall. Last year we tried replanting some of our own cloves as well as planting purchased cloves. While almost all of the purchased cloves came up only a few of our own cloves did. I am wondering if, because of our short growing season, the cloves we grew had not had enough time to go dormant before the really cold weather set in. I'd like to try again, but I'm wondering if we should try planting some cloves left from last summer, rather than the freshly harvested cloves from this year. Any thoughts on this?

I have winter onions and

By lorna anderson

I have winter onions and garlic. They both send up a shoot that has a seed pod on the top. I always thought you took this off, separated it and replanted it. My onion patch is beautiful. . . .but I don't know when to harvest the garlic. . . .the absolute bottom of the plant. . .that is in the ground. . .Do I have to 'dry' these before I can use them? And do I always leave some to come back next year?

Hi Lorna, Please see our

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lorna,
Please see our advice about growing garlic above. Start harvesting when the tops begin to yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry. And yes, garlic bulbs need to be cured (dried) before you store them. You can save some of the bulbs and plant the cloves in the fall.

Is there need to first test

By Behakanira Mathias

Is there need to first test water for irrigation an the soil on which to grow garlic?Thank you.

I purchased some garlic

By RLane420

I purchased some garlic cloves a couple months ago and am just now getting an opportunity to plant them. Do they go bad? Are they still able to be planted? How can I tell if they are still good?

Elephant Garlic I have some

By Onelocksmith

Elephant Garlic
I have some very old (passed down) elephant garlic or leek.
I am wondering about the replanting of the little bulbs that pop off the side of the main bulb.
Do you actually leave them in the ground for two years to get a real head with cloves and when do I replant them?

Just harvested late June and usually plant in the Fall

These bulblets will, as you

By Almanac Staff

These bulblets will, as you say, usually produce a full head with cloves in two years (producing a round, with no cloves, the first year). Some gardeners store the harvested bulblets in a dry place and then plant them in the fall. For more information, please see response to the second post below yours.

In my flower bee I found what

By Susan East Bell

In my flower bee I found what I thought to be some variety of lily but smelled like garlic. It has developed very tall stalks with a purplish flower head. I pulled one up and found it to be garlic. We live in middle Georgia and I've never done anything necessary for this garlic but it has developed very well and has an amazing flavor. Any idea what type I have and can I freeze it for later use?

If it's planted in a flower


If it's planted in a flower bed, it may be an allium, which could be garlic, onion or any number of plants from that same family. They are played for their flowers in flower beds.

Do a Web search for allium and you will find lots of information.

I have just started to dig my

By Mike Guernsey C.I.

I have just started to dig my elphant garlic and have some little bulblet around the roots can I do anything with these if planted back in the ground what will they do? or would they take two years to be able to harvest them.

You can plant the bulblet in

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the bulblet in the garden; some gardeners may store it in a dry place and then plant in fall. In cold areas, you might want to provide a good layer of mulch over winter. The bulblet has a very hard coat, so some people soak it for 24 hours before planting, and sometimes also nick it a bit to help water penetrate. Others have had success without any preparation. The bulblet will usually sprout next spring. It will form a small "round," which is a bulb without cloves. You can harvest the round that summer, or let it grow another year, when it will likely grow and divide into large cloves. So, from bulblet to a large bulb with cloves, it takes 2 years.

Question. The scaps, I

By john m tilicea

Question. The scaps, I believe is the top of the plant that turns over and looks like there is a bulb there. Should these be cut back, and how far, or are they bulbs that can be re planted... First time grower. John. Thank you in advance

Yes, the garlic "scrapes" are

By Almanac Staff

Yes, the garlic "scrapes" are the flower steps that grow before the before the bulbs mature. Most gardeners will cut them off so that the plant focuses on growing bigger bulbs. You can eat them! Just harvest when they're young and curly; it's best to cut them in the afternoon. Add to salads, soups, egg dishes, and pastas.  Stir-fry or sauté in olive oil. Just trim off the bottom of the stems and the tips of the flower heads.

Zone 6 garlic planted in

By Sandy coyne

Zone 6 garlic planted in fall,now June 12 . Garlic is 2-3 ft and curling at ends forming buds. Should I cut these off to help bulb grow bigger?

Cutting the scapes forces the

By Almanac Staff

Cutting the scapes forces the garlic to put its energy into the bulb, making it bigger and maturing faster. Leaving the scapes on makes for smaller bulbs and they will mature slower. Save the scapes and use them in cooking. They are delicious.

I live at the Jersey shore

By charlotte digiovanni

I live at the Jersey shore and it is very humid and damp . Any suggestions on where to cure my garlic when july and august are very hot and humid . This is my first garlic experience and I don't want to ruin this beautiful batch . Thanks for any advice .

I live in south Jersey and

By Shazz

I live in south Jersey and harvested my garlic 3 weeks ago. Hung them in my shop to cure and they are now in the pantry. They did fine.

It will take longer for

By Almanac Staff

It will take longer for garlic to cure in humid conditions but they will cure as long as they are protected from rain. Put them on screens in a well ventilated area and keep a box fan close by blowing at low speed.

In some areas farmers used to

By PC Sharma

In some areas farmers used to plant garlic cloves by cutting of one fifth of root portion of clove.
Does this help in early rooting or something else?

My garlic runs my beds lol.

By Traci P

My garlic runs my beds lol. Years ago my dad yanked up a small bunch of wild garlic and gave it to me. I planted it and ignored it. Every couple years I would dig it up in the fall and break up bulbs and replant here and there. I have a large amount of garlic to say the least, along with wild onions and rosemary all mixed up. Smells great in the rain.
I sometimes will go out and dig up a piece to use in cooking without curing. I wonder if it is never a good time to eat them? I plan on trying to cure some this summer as I have plenty to experiment with.

I planted my garlic cloves

By ariel granito

I planted my garlic cloves last fall, this spring , I have a bunch of 6inch tall garlic stems but when I digged one up, it almost looks like the bulb of a green onion. What does this men for my garlic? Will they ever grow cloves?

Hi Ariel, Garlic is ready

By Almanac Staff

Hi Ariel,
Garlic is ready when the foliage is tall (usually much more than 6 inches; usually probably at least a foot) and is dried and brown. This is typically July or August, depending on your location, summer conditions, etc.
It's not likely that the garlic will continue to grow if you replant it. Hopefully you didn't pull it all up . . .

This is my first time to grow

By zella

This is my first time to grow garlic. I like to know what to do with the little buds that grow on the top of the plant?


cut the little bulbs, or

By Emily Sullivan

cut the little bulbs, or actually they're flower heads off as soon as you see them forming. They are called scapes, and you can eat them. Just do a search to look up recipes.

I just harvested about 70

By Lovice Medina

I just harvested about 70 garlic grown in pots. I planted them late summer last year and most leaves were now getting dry, so time to dig. ALAS, none of my garlic developed cloves. They all have onion like bulbs.. What could have been the reason why.

Hi, Lovice, Garlic cloves

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Lovice,
Garlic cloves must be exposed to temperatures below 65°F or they may fail to form bulbs when planted—even though they produce flowers and foliage.
That said, too much cold, or cold followed by thaws, may also affect maturity.
Sorry for no better news.

My dad has been growing

By Jimbob71

My dad has been growing garlic for years with no luck. Last April, I helped cultivate, plant and organize his garden. It did wonderfully. This fall I purchased some "hungarian" and another garlic at a farmers market. He planted his (from previous years growth) and I planted mine. His scapes are the usual 3-4 inches high while mine are an inch thick and 12 inches high. Same garden, same soil, same everything. Can you help me understand?

Hi, Jimbob, Soft-neck

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Jimbob,
Soft-neck cultivars produce minimum or no flower stalk. It invests its energy in the bulb. Most commercial garlic is soft-neck.
Hard-neck cultivars produce the scapes.
It's not a problem; just different.
Good luck with the harvest!

i watch for garlic bulbs that

By diane linardakis

i watch for garlic bulbs that have begin to sprout seperate the bulb and place the toes in a glass the root end down and water up to the point sprout exits toe when i plant the sprouts are already 6" - 8" high plant at least 3" deep we love garlic sprouts on avacado sandwiches

I planted my garlic in the

By pwm1960

I planted my garlic in the fall. I have several shoots comping up from what I thought was one clove...do I need to separate them or will they be alright? This is my first year, so I don't know a lot about it. Also, can I move what I have planted to a different location. How much sun does it really need?


Dig up the garlic and

By Almanac Staff

Dig up the garlic and carefully remove the soil to see if you have several cloves together that can be separated. Replant the clove(s) in rich well-draining soil. Garlic needs as much sun as possible.

I planted a clove of garlic

By Holden Romero

I planted a clove of garlic past fall. It died soon because it got to hot (Arizona). It came back to life in like February and a started to die back about a couple weeks ago (April). I just pulled it out but found it was very small and not even separated. I figured just put it back in the ground and replant. Will this work and what really went wrong?

Replant your garlic and leave

By cassy

Replant your garlic and leave until it goes through a second growing season, sometimes garlic can take two seasons

I would like to try and plant

By Mark Horina

I would like to try and plant garlic this Spring. What type (variety) of garlic would have the best chance of a satisfactory result after a Spring planting (as opposed to Fall planting)?

Hi Mark, Garlic can be

By Almanac Staff

Hi Mark,
Garlic can be planted in the spring, but it should be refrigerated first or planted early enough to get a natural cold treatment. Spring plantings don’t tend to grow as big as fall planted garlic. Soft neck varieties are best for spring planting.

This will be my first year

By LauraF

This will be my first year growing garlic I live in Indiana and will spring plant. Our ground is still frozen. Will I get a harvest this year? I am actually expecting the garlic I ordered any day now. Had I known I would have planted last fall but oh well. I won't be able to plant for a few more weeks we had snow yesterday still

Spring planting of garlic is

By Almanac Staff

Spring planting of garlic is fine and it will grow, but it will not produce the large bulbs as with fall planting. Garlic prefers to be planted in the fall at least six weeks before the soil freezes because it needs a cold period for proper shoot and bulb development.
For spring planting, we would suggest that you stored under refrigeration for at least 8 weeks prior to planting, and should be set as early in the spring as possible. Plant as soon as the soil is workable.

I think I've made a terrible


I think I've made a terrible mistake. I planted garlic in the fall for the first time. I read all the care and maintenance instructions but it seems I got my wires crossed. I thought that the first green shoots in spring were the 'scapes' that needed to be cut off. So I went around and cut ALL the leaves off of ALL of my garlic. Did I just kill off my entire harvest of garlic?

Maybe not, don’t panic!

By JBush

Maybe not, don’t panic! Every now and then I get heavy damage from deer and rabbits and the plants usually recover. They still have that root system that’s been developing all winter to draw energy from. The overall size of the bulbs may suffer, but the plants should come back and grow just fine. Scapes appear later when the plant is well developed and should be removed to get the largest bulbs possible. To maximize bulb size try foliar feeding at 2 week intervals with a diluted fish emulsion that has 3 or 4 of drops of dish detergent mixed in. Stop feeding and watering when the plants stop growing. Harvest when about half of the lower leaves have turned brown.

Omg I just did the same thing

By Sue S

Omg I just did the same thing just gave my garlic haircuts .. Chopped it down to one level!!
Seriously I'm just devasted I did this. It's our first time growing garlic ...
Do I just leave them alone???

I bought a clove of garlic

By Robin Serro

I bought a clove of garlic from the grocery store to eat, but several cloves from it started sprouting. I had just purchased and aquafarm and decided to put the sprouted cloves in the rocks to see what happened. They are all doing AMAZING - one has a stalk almost a foot tall after less than a month. I've read through most of the comments here and heard that it's not the best to plant store-bought cloves. Do you think it'll be ok if I plant them when the ground is a bit warmer? Or is it a lost cause? They look so good with how fast they're growing, I don't even want to eat them.

The issue with store bought

By JBush

The issue with store bought Alliums (garlic, onions, and shallots) is they are not certified disease or pathogen free. If your store bought plants are carrying a disease it can spread to the existing Alliums in your yard. If you want to plant them out make sure they are separated by as much distance as possible from your other Alliums. Grow them out for a couple of years and watch for disease. If they remain healthy during that time there’s probably no issues with them. Pay particular attention to fertilizer, moisture, and drainage.

Ok that makes a lot of sense.

By RSerro

Ok that makes a lot of sense. I haven't purchased my sets for my onions or my garlic yet, but I actually had some store-bought onions that did the same thing so I planted them in a pot and have them in a sunny window. I will keep them away from each other and see how they work out. Thanks, again!

I just bought some normal

By gfburke

I just bought some normal garlic at the store. also have tons because i use a lot. But went in and saw about a 2in green leaf and little root feets. I just put in about 2in into potting soil and jar and watered it well. put it into a north facing window, not much light. i swear, every day it is growing about an inch. i can now see roots all in the jar after a week! idk what to do now.. but.. seems cool.

You can plant it out and it

By JBush

You can plant it out and it should grow. If you decide to do that you should plant it separately from other garlic and shallots in your garden just in case it’s carrying a pathogen of some type. If it grows well for a couple of seasons it should be good for planting with your other stocks.

I didnot plant my garlic yet

By pere1945

I didnot plant my garlic yet due to a back problem, my soil is frozen about 2in deep, I put A small clere plastic hoop type cover over the area I wanted to use, is it to late to go and plant when soil is workable? should I keep hoop on or remove it once I plant the garlic? is this better than puting garlic in my refrigator for the winter?

You should plant it to get

By JBush

You should plant it to get the winter chilling it needs to grow well. I had the same problem in 2010 with a head of garlic I had ordered that arrived while I was recovering from an accident. What I did was to start the cloves in peat pots in my garage. Then I covered the planting bed with black plastic to gain solar heat to keep it from freezing. About the time the cloves broke the soil in the peat pots I planted them and watered them in on a fairly warm 38 degree day. Then I mulched the bed with straw and crossed my fingers. In the spring it all came up and grew just fine.

It is now end of May here in


It is now end of May here in NC..Just got a bunch of garlic to plant. How do I store them till Sept. Looks like it is to late to plant now. Or is it? Trying for first time I guess I order to late

Using Garlic from groceries

By Jacc M

Using Garlic from groceries for planting is the only option i have left. I want to plant garlic for home consumption and sale on the local market but i have failed to find farmers in Uganda that have big and healthy bulbs apart from that imported and sold in groceries. the local available bulbs are too small. Am also afraid that the grocery big bulbs-cloves will not yeild any bulbs because they are from groceries just like i read somewhere in the posts/comments. How true is this and can i go ahead to plant grocery garlic and follow all growing instructions?

I have 'California White'

By JBush

I have 'California White' soft neck and 'Music' hard neck that came from grocery stores more than 20 years ago. They took a few years to develop, but they eventually adapted and have grown well for me in different parts of the US.

The concern of store bought garlic is that it is not seed grade and may be carrying some sort of pathogen, If I was you, I'd try all varieties available and test grow them in plots that are separated just in case there's a problem with one type. It will take a few years to determine how well each will perform in your garden.

Your locally available garlic that is small may be due to planting time or from not having enough time to develop.

Thanks Jbush for your reply

By Jacc M

Thanks Jbush for your reply and advice. Am encouraged by your trials and hope to keep in touch for more advice.

I grow several types of

By JBush

I grow several types of garlic in my Zone 5 garden in Northern Nevada. My best luck has been planting from mid October until just before the ground freezes. I can usually harvest the early varieties in mid June. I harvest when 3 or 4 leaves turn brown, About half of it is left in the ground until I need it. This year I dug 'Inchelium Red' after 2 years and the heads were huge!

I want to plant my garlic in

By Maurine Spinato

I want to plant my garlic in a pot and leave it on my deck. How big a pot do I need, this is the first time I have tried planting garlic. I live in the Hartford conn. Area

I plant mine in a six gallon

By OSU Beaver

I plant mine in a six gallon bucket. One in the center and five or six around the edge about two inches from the side. The roots grow all the way to the bottom of the bucket but they do real well.

I planted my garlic the

By Rita Ladany

I planted my garlic the beginning of Oct and it is now sprouting. Should I trim the greens or just let them freeze and die out?
Live, Love, & Laugh, Rita

This can happen in mild

By Almanac Staff

This can happen in mild weather. We'd just let the leaves die off when it gets colder; garlic is very cold-hardy. Heavily mulch the bed with leaves to protect the garlic from any inconsistent temperature over the winter.

I read the instructions wrong

By Jeanne C.

I read the instructions wrong before planting my cloves and I planted them 9 inches deep in a raised bed. Will they still grow or should I dig them up and re-plant?

I live in Washington State.

By Aimee Wolfe

I live in Washington State. last year I planted my garlic to deep, they grew but did not produce. So I would re do them. This year I planted them 6 inches apart, and 3 inches deep. will let you know next spring how they did.

I hope your garlic is like my

By pete sampson

I hope your garlic is like my red russian. I kept them in the frig for 2 weeks then planted 3-4 in deep at 6 in apart Oct 1/2014.
I have tops 1-4 in already. Covered with more soil for winter and elevated a plastic sheet to reduce rain water.

If you plant them too deep,

By Almanac Staff

If you plant them too deep, they may grow but you'll get much smaller bulbs. Plant 2 inches below the top of the soil. You'll probably get bulbs less than 1.5 inches in diameter versus 2.5 inches. It's up to you. We'd probably replant since it's not too late.

BULERE YOUTH, a group of

By nathan mubiru

BULERE YOUTH, a group of youth who associate and work together in UGANDA would like to grow garlic but cant afford to buy garlic clove seeds because there too expensive.

Any one that can assist them get cheaper or free seeds please your most welcome and contact us @ bulereyouth@gmail.com thanks

The skin on my garlic cloves


The skin on my garlic cloves came off. Can I still plant them??

Yes, it is fine if the skin

By Almanac Staff

Yes, it is fine if the skin to falls off on some of the cloves. Just don't expose the bare cloves for too long before planting garlic.

Good afternoon. I live in

By Limmerik

Good afternoon.
I live in central Quebec, Canada and plant my garlic in the late fall. The type is music.
Scenario: I have just picked some garlic last week... a little late to say the least. The bulbs are all large yet several of the skins have burst and the cloves are visible, almost like the skins deteriorated in the ground... even the clove skin is missing on some. Very strong flavor.
Question: In your opinion would the cloves salvaged still be good to replant as part of next years crop??

i live in South East Asia, so

By Greenthumb122

i live in South East Asia, so what kind of garlic should i plant? thanks

I have a friend that returned

By JBush

I have a friend that returned to his native Vietnam a few years back that is an avid gardener and grow a lot of garlic. He says most soft necks grow well there especially the creole types. He told me he planted the Asiatic hard neck variety 'Asian Tempest' in October to see if it will adapt.

This is my first time growing

By Nesi

This is my first time growing garlic.When i harvest the garlic it was red cloves, is this normal

Red cloves are due to the

By Karen Bambacus

Red cloves are due to the variety of plant. The are beautiful additions to a garlic braid.

I planted some elephant

By ClareO

I planted some elephant garlic last year. The leaves were turning yellow so I decided to pull one up. I let it dry, then cut it. Inside was a single bulb, I'm guessing I cropped to early -can I eat it anyway?


Elephant garlic (Allium

By Almanac Staff

Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum) is a leek, not a garlic.  It's ready to harvest when about 30% of the foliage is starting to yellow. In many regions, this point comes in mid-May or June. If harvest is delayed past that point, the bulbs begin to split open, revealing the individual cloves.

My garlic did not clove this

By Brother Al

My garlic did not clove this year. The pulled plants look like onions. They were planted from previously successful heads of garlic. I used composted soil with worm casings, planted early Jan. and pulled them mid July. What happened?

Bulb and clove formation is

By Almanac Staff

Bulb and clove formation is dependent on several factors, including exposure to a period of cold, changing day length, soil temperature, planting date, local weather/climate.
If the bulbs were fully mature when harvested, it might be, if you live in a warm climate, that the seed garlic may not have had enough cold exposure (about 32 to 40 degrees F for several months). Cold encourages bulb/clove formation. If you live in an area where temperatures do not get below about 40 degrees F, you can place the seed garlic in a porous bag in the refrigerator for about 6 to 8 weeks before planting them.
After exposure to cold temperatures (called vernalization), bulb formation is further induced by increasing day length and soil temperatures above 60 degrees F.
You might ask your county's Cooperative Extension for the types of garlic that do well in your area. (Softneck types are usually better for southern gardens.) For contact information, see: http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services

Hi, we grew german hardneck

By Tim Truax

Hi, we grew german hardneck this year, when we cut the scapes garlic looked great nice green stalks. After we cut the scapes the garlic stalks stopped growing and turned black and when we pulled up some of the garlic looked like it stopped growing. We have one stock next to the other one green one black, one big bulb one small right next to one another and can't figure out what caused this ? All we can think of is we had too much rain ( 33 inches in a little over a month )

It's hard to tell what caused

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to tell what caused your garlic problem. You may have waited too long to cut the scapes or the rain may have been too much for the bulbs to take. Remember when you cut the scapes to cut the stalk at soil level and not to cut the leaves.

Can I plant garlic in summer

By Sandy Buton

Can I plant garlic in summer for next year harvest? I just received my mail order now and I don't think it will last in the refrigerator till fall. Zone 6

It probably isn't advisable

By Almanac Staff

It probably isn't advisable to plant in summer. In Zone 6, you want to plant in fall so that the seed cloves establish roots before a freeze, but don't actually start to grow leaves before the cold weather hits. If they do start to grow leaves and then cold temperatures kill the leaves, the health and vigor of the bulb will likely suffer; next summer's harvest may produce small bulbs.

We'd suggest that you contact the company where you ordered the garlic for advice on how to best store the seed garlic before you plant it. In general, keep them in a cool, dark, dry place, with good air circulation.

I checked my garlic and the

By tony waterston

I checked my garlic and the bulb looks on the small side still so im gona leave it till the end of this month, I cut the scape off once it had made its 1st curl, maybe the bulb being small cud have sumfin to do with it bein hot, or mayb it mite just be a gd tasting bulb, wot do I do when I pull it out the ground? Im a complete novice. Thanx

Assuming you have enough

By Almanac Staff

Assuming you have enough sunlight and the right conditions, garlic tends to put in size at the end of its harvest so you might be fine. When you harvest the garlic bulb, you should be able to feel the bumps of the cloves through the wrappers. You want to harvest before the wrappers begin to fall apart. After harvesting, you need to cure the garlic. See instructions above.

I was told I had garlic

By sitnbull

I was told I had garlic growing so I looked it up online and it said U could eat the flowers that grew on top, and to cut the stems down so the garlic in the ground would grow bigger. So I cut them down and saved the flower tops to eat. I did a little more searching and now I'm thinking I did the wrong thing. It looks like I'm supposed to be harvesting it now, not waiting for it to finish growing. Am I right??? And CAN U eat the flower tops?

You can eat the "scapes," the

By Almanac Staff

You can eat the "scapes," the pointy (almost elfin), curly stalks, sometimes called flower stems, even "false flower stems," that develop on hardneck (or stiffneck) garlic.
Softneck garlic does not produce a scape; it produces small cloves, which are also edible.
As for harvesting garlic, you should wait until the foliage yellows or browns. This usually occurs sometime in July.
Save a few cloves to plant this fall, for next year's harvest.
We are not familiar with cutting the foliage to the ground. When you harvest, let us know if that has had an effect.
Hope this helps!

I planted my first ever

By tony waterston

I planted my first ever garlic bulbs spring this year, they are now bout ten or 12 inches tall and the bottom leaves are goin yellow but I dont know if im doin sumfin wrong, one of them has a very thick stem, I need help how long do I leave it for? And has any1 got any tips for pea plants and tomato plants? Ive just done them too, thank you.

It sounds like your garlic is

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your garlic is ready to be harvested! Congratulations!
Yellow foliage is a good sign. A thick stem is a sign of a healthy plant. So pull them up, gently (you don't want to break the stem off). If you have to go rooting around for the garlic heads, be gentle and use your hands. A tool might cut into the heads.
Save a few cloves for planting this fall (or next spring) and mark the area so you don't dig up the developing heads in spring, before the new plants show themselves above ground.
As for peas and tomatoes, there is too much to say here. You can find advice for these plants here on Almanac.com.

I just harvested a good sized

By Good for what ails ye

I just harvested a good sized head of garlic (my husband thought it was an onion!) and there are tiny brown cloves outside of the regular head with a single root. What are these, and can they be saved to plant in the fall?

Hi there - In the pest

By IAmAlex

Hi there - In the pest section, it says to "clean the soil"? How would one do that?

We suggest to clean up the

By Almanac Staff

We suggest to clean up the area after harvesting the garlic. Remove all debris, dead foliage etc.

Do I leave the whole green

By Beata

Do I leave the whole green part until the curing part is finished or is OK to chop some off?

When you lift the garlic out

By Almanac Staff

When you lift the garlic out of the ground, you take the greens and all for curing. After it's cured for a couple weeks, trim off the remaining stem. If you wish: after one week, cut off all but about 5 inches (12 cm) of stem. Then store in a container at cool room temperature (not a fridge).

Thank you for an interesting

By L. Thielen

Thank you for an interesting site. When we harvest our garlic the dense dirt insists on clinging to the sides and they never look clean like store-bought garlic. It seems that washing the dirt off would be a mistake. What do you advise? Thanks.

You have the right instincts.

By Almanac Staff

You have the right instincts. Homegrown garlic will still be on the dirty side compared to store-bought. After harvesting, you want to "cure" the garlic by letting it dry in a protected place out of the sun that's warm but not hot nor moist. When the outer skin gets papery, brush off as much dirt as you can and cut the roots. We do not wash it prior to storage. Further cleanup or washing the garlic may shorten its lifespan. If the dirt is bothersome to you, remove the outer layer of wrapper. We hope this advice helps.

Will garlic grow in a

By Jim Withem

Will garlic grow in a container garden or inside?

Yes, you can grow garlic in a

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can grow garlic in a container. We really think it's best if they grow outside. They root in the cold of winter. The warm indoor temperatures won't allow them to grow properly.

I planted garlic last spring

By Gail Batten

I planted garlic last spring and it never came up but I never dug up the "lost" garlic and to my suprise when I uncovered the bed this spring there it was up 6 inches. Is there anything I need to worry about since it has been in the ground so long? The stem are large and seem to be hardy. I have never growen it before but buying localy grown garlic and because they longer compared to the store bought bulbs made me want to grow it. I know the one is Elephant garlic and I can't remember the other. Any insight you can give me would be helpful on my first garlic grow.

Your garlic should be

By Almanac Staff

Your garlic should be suitable for consumption. The heads may be on the small side, but still delicious. When the leaves start to decline, stop watering. Harvest when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six on top are still green.

My question is concerning the

By lrobinson2011

My question is concerning the flowering portion of the garlic. I planted garlic for the first time in the fall of 2012. But, due to my lack of knowledge and research I allowed the garlic to stay in the ground too long and it is now flowering. Can I cut off the flower end if it bulbs and plant it? I don't have much knowledge about garlic but someone was telling me that I could cut off the ends and plant them. Any advice or know anyone is willing to share would be great thanks.

Yes, you can plant the small

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can plant the small bulbils that are found inside the flower. Cut off the stalks with the flower heads attached. Tie the stalks together in bunches and hang them upside down in a ventilated area to dry. When dry plant the individual small bulbils in the fall and add mulch if you have severe winters. Next spring dig the small bulbs, dry and replant the tiny cloves in the fall. It takes several years to grow full-size bulbs.

At which point do you cut the

By Lisa Gehrig

At which point do you cut the stalk from the plant to dry the bulbils? The skin around my bulbils are just starting to split. Have I waited too long?

an inspiring read for garlic lovers/growers

By Anonymous

I'm enthralled with "A Garlic Testament" by Stanley Crawford....seasons and growing garlic on a small New Mexico farm....a great mixture of gardening tips and philosophy ...Aldo Leopold on garlic. This is not a commercial...just wanted to share this title.

Yes, indeed - a wonderful

By Lisahistory

Yes, indeed - a wonderful book, as much philosophy as garlic farming.

garlic scapes/sticky cloves

By Anonymous

Maybe it's the variety, but I missed a few scapes last summer and did not notice a difference in bulb size...for what it's worth.

My question, it's Sept 29 and I'm planting my cloves. One variety I bought from a local farmer the cloves are almost stuck together, a little sticky/funky...should I NOT plant them? Just that one variety, from that one farm. (I've others from other seed places, and some from my garden from last year, planting about 6 varieties this year) I planted them anyway, but am worried about bringing rot or fungus into my garden.

Seeds from scapes?

By Anonymous

I let one of my scapes grow longer just to see what happens and it made a bunch of little seeds in the scape. Are these plantable?

garlic 'scape' seeds.

By Anonymous

It is my understanding that YES the 'seeds' from the scape are plantable...however you need to give them 2 years to mature...I've read that you plant them year 1, dig them out, and replant year 2 for bigger heads. I've planted 2 rows this year for the first time...we'll see.

can you plant the seeds from

By Anonymous

can you plant the seeds from the flower head and get more garlic or will they just die?

Look closely and you'll

By K Barth

Look closely and you'll discover they aren't seeds exactly, but bulbils--tiny garlic cloves. I plant mine. Year after year. I love this system--no buying involved. I cannot promise that all bulbils will do what mine do, but just go ahead and plant some in a spot where you can watch them. First they'll form a single clove (I plant them soon after I harvest the current garlic crop), and then in autumn that single clove is your planted clove for next summer's harvest! Amazing, yes?

Garlic doesn’t produce

By Almanac Staff

Garlic doesn’t produce flowers or seeds. The individual cloves from heads of garlic are separated and planted. Do not plant grocery store garlic. Find garlic from a gardener friend or local farmer. Individual cloves should be planted, pointed-side up, 2 to 3 inches deep. Each clove will become an entire head of garlic!


By Anonymous

garlic does produce both flowers and seeds, but it is much easier to clone the bulbs, so seed isn't commonly sold. the seeds look just like onion seeds, and the scape will grow a flower head if left to do so.

Store bought garlic

By Anonymous

I just wanted to letyou know that I planted store bought garlic and I have had good results in their production. The stalks are large,no fungus,green scapes and they are not yellowing as yet.I plan to leave them till June or July before I harvest them .I did ammend the soil before planting and gave them some 10=10=10 in the winter well covered with compost and straw mulch.I paid 79 cents for a large head and planted the large outer cloves in October. Hope to share my crop with my friends who have seen my good results to my sixty to seventy heads growing until harvest.

If u let the scape grow

By Anonymous

If u let the scape grow longer the top of it will bust open and it is filled with little seed like bulbs

First time planting

By Anonymous

I haven't planted garlic before, and I planted some in May when I planted the rest of my vegetable garden in southeast Michigan. I am now learning that garlic is to be planted in the Fall. However, I have garlic plants that are about 5 inches tall now. Should they be harvested this year or should I let them stay in ground over winter?

Since it is OK to plant

By Almanac Staff

Since it is OK to plant garlic in the Spring, you can safely harvest them when they are ready. Generally, garlic planted in Spring should be ready for harvest by late-July or early August. You'll want to pay attention to when the tops yellow and begin to fall over.

If you'd like, you can plant again in the Fall! It's been noted that planting in the Fall MAY produce bigger and better bulbs. Read above for more info on Fall planting.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

If scapes don't appear?

By Anonymous

If scapes are not showing up, is there a problem, or do you just wait longer?

garlic scapes

By Almanac Staff

The scape appear a month or so after the first leaves so maybe it's a waiting game. Also, not all garlic varieties have scapes. Scapes form only on Hardneck varieties.

Don't pitch the scapes!

By JBL55

The first time I planted garlic, I cut off the scapes (what this article calls "flower shoots") when they appeared and threw them on the compost heap. A few weeks later I learned they can be used in cooking. Auggghhh! After I dried my tears, I began to look for garlic scape recipes and in the years since have had great fun with scapes (e.g. pesto).

If left to mature, the scapes will make the plant think it's successfully reproduced so, as the article states, the bulb will not be as robust as it might. However, it's fun to let one or two mature so you can see the teeny tiny "head" of garlic seeds that will develop.

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