Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Garlic

Growing Garlic (U.S.)


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Garlic is easy to grow and produces numerous bulbs after a long growing season. Plus, it’s frost tolerant! Here’s how to grow garlic in your garden.

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 date. 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.
  • See more information about how to plant garlic in the fall.


  • 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. Remove any dirt and trim off any roots or leaves. Keep the wrappers on—but remove 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

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, and find out more uses for raw garlic and more about garlic’s long history of healing.


Cooking Notes

Garlic is a fantastic addition to many meals, even if it might give you bad breath. Learn how to make your own garlic powder to easily spice up a recipe. Roasted garlic bulbs are also a favorite seasoning.

Reader Comments

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Curing my garlic

This year I have a great crop of Musik garlic that I just harvested. I'm in SW Ontario, Zone 5b; most of the bulbs are a good normal size and 1/4 of the crop has exceptionally large heads. The stems are also large, ~ one inch+ in diameter. I've had to cut the stems within 8" of the bulb or they'll never dry. I have a drying frame in my shed, but am still worried the thick stems will cause rot before the bulbs cure.
What else can I do to get proper curing on these bulbs? thanks

Curing Garlic

Hi Dianne,

You’ve done everything right so far but if you’re still worried, cut another 2 to 3 inches of stem from each bulb. The best insurance of preventing rot is to keep the drying area moisture free: Try a dehumidifier. An alternative to quickly dry the garlic is to use a solar dehydrator. 


Hi My german garlic is laying over, drying out and producing small seed heads. Can I harvest now and plant the seeds in the fall?

harvesting garlic

You can harvest your garlic when there is only about 5 or 6 green leaves left, and 3 or 4 leaves have turned brown. It sounds like your garlic has reached that point. If you wait too long, then the bulb may separate. Don’t pull on the leaves as you harvest–you want them intact. Hang bulbs in a dry, shaded, well-ventilated area; let them cure for about 4 to 6 weeks. Then store in a cool, dry location.

You can save the true seeds, but they may not produce plants that are like the parent; the cloves or bulbils are what will be true to type. Not all garlic produces seeds, and those that do produce flowers, may not produce viable seed. If your seed heads are developing, but not mature, then you’ll need to sacrifice harvesting the bulb to let the seed head mature for seeds (which are harvested around October or so), or you can sever the seed stalk (scape) at the base of the plant and place it in water in a sunny location in the hope that it may still mature. It’s best to remove the bulbils early on from the flower head to encourage better seed development. The harvested seeds need a cold treatment before they are sown; you can place them in the refrigerator for a month or so over winter. When you sow the seeds in spring, it is likely that the germination rate will be very low for that first generation; successive generations improve. Also, that first round tends to produce problem plants, such as weaker or misshapen, but there’s also the possibility of some with desirable characteristics that you can go on to save further seed or cloves. Garlic is fussy, and has evolved so that it reproduces by cloves or bulbils more often than by seed, so propagating it this way may be a challenge, but could also be a fun experiment! Good luck!

Scapes regenerate?

I'm a novice garlic grower and I pulled the scapes off about a month and a half ago. Left a few that hadn't grown up through the center leaves. About three weeks later I went to check in them and noticed there were more that had grown back? I know I didn't miss that many of them. If I check on my garlic weekly and notice the scapes growing back am I harming the garlic by constantly trimming out the scape?


Hi Jeff,

You won’t harm the garlic plants by pulling the scapes out again. There is a way to pull out the garlic scapes to prevent them from growing back. Pull them straight up so that the entire scape comes out. Simply breaking or pulling them out at an angle will break the scape and leave part intact, contained within the stem. That can grow back.

Garlic "babies"

Just harvested my garlic today( full moon tonight!) .
I live in SW B.C. so I planted in the fall, mid November full moon. Was told to do this by a farmer & my garlic looks big & gorgeous, however it had little "baby" buds growing off some of the root bases; can I plant them in the fall?
Happy gardening!

garlic (elephant) that did not section?

your web site is a great help. from SW Oregon 97526
I planted my large garlic in Late October 2016, the weather was good all went well till the extreme heat of late June 2017. the leaves turned yellow so I wrung their necks like an elderly farmer had told me to do .left the garlics in the ground, 10 days when I dug them beautiful blubs look like Big Onions. No sections?

garlic is one big bulb, no sections

This is typical of elephant garlic. Left in the garden a little longer, they may have developed sections, but not guaranteed. 

1st time garlic grower

Hi, I live in Iowa and planted garlic for the first time about 3-4 weeks ago and it is already growing. It has 4-5 inch shoots already. How long am I supposed to wait before it can be harvested? When is the optimal time for planting? And can it be grown indoors or does it require sunlight?

Growing Garlic

Congrats on the growing garlic shoots! Please read the page above for the best time to plant outside and how to know when to harvest. In terms of growing garlic inside: Yes, you can grow garlic, however, you won’t get a head of garlic. The plant will grow greens that can be clipped as seasoning or garnish.

when to harvest garlic

hello, really enjoy your site. I planted Spanish Garlic last fall. it grew beautifully. however I was puzzled about harvesting. I waited for the tops to yellow but it put on new tops - one top for each clove, before it all yellowed. Is that normal? i think I waited too long as the paper is pretty much non-existent.
Also can I replant the sprouted cloves this fall?


Do you mean Spanish Roja? That is a rocambole type of garlic, good for northern gardens, that produces bulbils up top, that sort of look like mini-cloves. That’s normal for that type of garlic. You can plant each rocambole bulbil in fall; it may take about 2 years (3 for other types) to produce a full garlic bulb; that first spring after fall planting, you may get a bulb with a few cloves, instead of a round (which is just one clove) that other types tend to produce; you can replant this next fall to grow a second year for a fuller bulb. Spanish Roja has a very thin paper coating; that is normal, but it means that it does not store as long. You can plant sprouted bulbils (or cloves) in fall, but as they are sprouting at this early date, I’m not sure how they will do over the summer. 

Harvesting scapes and bulbs

I planted garlic a few years ago in my garden, and have since learned about
Cooking with the large flowers that bloom on the top, when is the best time to cut them off to use them and do I need to harvest the bulbs at the same time?

garlic scapes

You can harvest garlic scapes before they form flowers and bulbils, although the seeds in the bulbils are edible, too. Some harvest just when the scape forms its first curlicue, harvesting around late May and June; these are tender and can be chopped in salads. Other gardeners wait until the scape is tall and then cut them at the base; you don’t want to wait too long, though, or it will become woody. The more mature scapes are cooked, such as by sauteeing, or pickled. The scape is usually ready about a month or so before the bulb, so leave the bulb to continue growing after harvesting the scape.

Missed my planting window- Can I wait til fall?

I live in Northern Ca (SF Bay area) and completely missed my window to plant some amazing garlic heads I purchased at a Harvest Faire last August. Will these heads last until I can plant in the fall?

Best variety for scapes?

My family loves garlic scapes! Can you tell me what varieties are likely to give us the best scapes?

garlic scapes

Hardnecks will produce scapes; softnecks will not. Avoid Turbans, Creoles, and Asiatics, as they are not reliable for scapes. Rocambole, Porcelains, and Purple Stripe types usually produce good scapes. You might try something like a ‘Carpathian’, ‘German Red’, or ‘Spanish Roja’ rocambole, if they would grow well in your area. Hope this helps!

Covering garlic

To be on the safe side, it would be best to cover until the storm passes, and because frost penetrates the plastic and may kill the plants, it is better to use fabric--rugs,etc--to cover. Makes for lots of extra laundry, tho! Lol!!

Spring snow and hard freeze, should I cover?

I have 52 cloves of garlic w/ 5-6" shoots that were planted last fall in a raised bed. I live in denver and we are expecting 3-4" of snow and a hard freeze tomorrow. Should I try to cover the shoots with plastic or will they be ok with the snow and 25F temps?

Garlic as rose-guard!

I use very little garlic, but I want to plant it around my (new) roses. Can I just leave it in the ground, or should I "harvest" and replant every year? Also, is there an optimal distance from the rose bushes for the garlic to best serve as "guard"? Thank you!

plant garlic near roses

It is worth a try. Garlic is said to act as a repellent crop for aphids when planted near roses. It is thought that the scent is one reason why aphids tend to avoid it. Garlic is typically planted into the ground in the fall and harvested in the summer, but you can leave it in longer to help your roses if you are not planning to consume the garlic.

Leaving garlic in the ground

In reply to "can I just leave it in the ground or do I have to harvest and plant again?" I thought I had some cute flowers growing in my back yard of a rental that we live in. Every year they come up and are really pretty. This year I decided to take a closer look, I thought they were onions maybe, having not grown onion since I was 6 in my mom's garden I couldn't remember. I decided to dig one up and see how big it was, since its been there for almost 4 years and who knows how much longer before we lived here. That's when I learned it was garlic, not onion. They are small heads but it is early June here in So. Utah, so they do just keep growing back year after year, but I don't know the quality.


I never harvested my garlic last year, it is now coming back up this spring. Can I wait
and harvest this fall?

missed harvest

It might be better to dig up the bulb and gently separate the individual cloves and replant as soon as you can.

I just recently decided I was

I just recently decided I was going to try to grow garlic, I live in Oklahoma, is it too late and how should I plant it? In the ground or in a pot? We had a very mild winter and it's already been warm (70° to 80°) the past couple of weeks.
Any suggestions??

Garlic oddities

I grow mostly hardneck varieties due to my location. This last fall I planted Spanish Benetee for the first time and some of the individual cloves have sprouted two tops. Has anyone had this happen and what does it mean?

double top

We can not find a reason/explanation for this and are curious to see if anyone “out there” has one. In the meantime, we recommend contacting your cooperative extension service; find yours here: These folks have decades of combined experience!

tops on garlic

I've had that happen and was trying to explain it to a friend yesterday. If you look up growing garlic from seed, you will see how you can make the tops become seed and grow your strain of garlic. It is a two year process, but can create strong crops if they are suited for your climate. It is also a fun journey to go through when growing. The "flowers" of little baby cloves can be removed carefully and then the seeds are developed from the flowers that are between the cloves. I'm sure the little cloves can be planted, but I would just eat or juice them.

Warm temperature

I live in southern California where the coldest temperature of the year is around 48 degrees fahrenheit, and from reading other comments I learned the garlic has to stay for 40 days under 40F. I live in an apartment and just plant these for farm, but I still wanna get some results. How do I get my garlic to form bulbs?

take it to Gilroy

Do you know that the garlic capital of the world is not far from you? Folks in Gilroy have been growing garlic for … ever! So it’s possible. It doesn’t really need a chill. But it does need rich, loose (not compacted) soil. Some growers plant on the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) and harvest on the longest (summer solstice) but you can just use that schedule as a gauge.

When should I plant my garlic this year?

Hi I just receive some awesome local garlic and sense I have like 5feet of snow outside right now in NB I was wondering what could I do with my new garlic? Should I plant it in soil inside to transplant in the spring or plant directly in the soil when spring is here?

garlic gift

As per above, “Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.” Planting it in fall is not required.

tricking garlic

Can you trick a garlic plant if you freeze it in the house for a few weeks then plant it outside in the spring?

tricking garlic?

You do not need to “trick” it, Joanie. As per above, “Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.”

Garlic Issue

One year my Garlic is mild enough to eat like candy and the next year it's so hot it burns my tongue. What am I doing different?

garlic taste

Donald, the only thing we can think about the garlic is that you are growing different varieties. You do not say that you replant some of your harvest, so…if you get different stock/seed garlic from year to year, you may be getting different ones. With the ease of growing, it has become very popular in home gardens and many more types are around. About taste, porcelain tends to be mild; rocambole is high in sulfenic acid so has a chili-like taste; and Spanish, or red, tends to mild.

Too hot to plant?

Hoping to plant my first garlic this year and was going to try in a large planter. My question is where I live (South Texas) we don't get a freeze. We had 1 day where them temp reached 32 this year but not long enough for the ground to freeze. Will in have any luck with garlic?

garlic in south texas

I'm in the RGV in South Texas. I planted my first crop of garlic in 2 self-watering bucket systems that i keep on my 2nd floor balcony. I ave healthy green scapes now, and all looks good.

No idea how the harvest will turn out at the end of the summer, but for now i'm happy with how it's moving along.

Good luck!

Waited to long to plant...

So I live in michigan and I missed my time to put my garlic in the ground. It's now below freezing everyday and about 14 inches of snow. Can I plant them indoors and transplant outside in the spring. Or am I doomed this year with no fresh garlic???? Thanks so much

Garlic in Winter

You have nothing to lose by potting up some cloves and putting them in a cold, dry place, like a shed or garage. Might as well give a go!

growing garlic in northern climes - missing the autumn planting

I live in Toronto.
For many years I have been planting in late December.
This year, as you noted, we had a traditional cold, snowy December, which is on the harsher side compared to only the past 20 years.
Nonetheless, if you bed is prepared, you will likely have only an inch of frozen bed to get through.
I use a bamboo stock, or if need be, as it looks right now, for I am going to try to plant my garlic today, December 26th, a steel pipe, to pierce the frost level, and remove enough soil/create a hole, to place a seed garlic in it.
It will likely be messy, slightly miserable work, but well worth it.
There is nothing like eating your own garlic!
My experience in spring planting has been disappointing; the garlic really needs the winter hardening of the seed to fully bloom.
Good luck (get out there!)

December garlic?

I planned to grow garlic in a large container this November but with one thing and another it is now December and I'm finally ready to plant. However we are expecting really cold temps here in SC for the next few days but we never get so cold that the ground freezes. I'm wanting to know if I go ahead and plant but cover the bed with a lot of mulch, do you think it will work? Also what are good companion plants for garlic?

get your garlic going

It sounds like you still have a good shot at getting your garlic in, Jill. Better late than never. Set it and cover as you describe. As for companionship … roses and raspberries are friendly (see here but keep it away from beans and peas (see here and a few other plants (see here:

Good luck—and thanks for asking!

Hello, I live in South Hero

Hello, I live in South Hero Vermont and I haven't planted my garlic yet. My first question is: is it too late to plan my garlic? Second question is that the garlic I have to plant is from my last year's grown stock. I put them in the refrigerator after they were dry and then read that you shouldn't refrigerate garlic at all.

on growing garlic

To answer your first question, no it is not too late to plant garlic. We’ve planted in November and enjoyed a fine harvest the following summer. (Be sure you set it in good composted soil.) last year’s stock should be fine … about the refrigeration…ideally, whole garlic heads/cloves should not be refrigerated. If cut, most advise refrigerating it in an airtight container. We have, however, found some endorsement for refrigerating garlic that was not planted in fall but needs the chill to grow. We can’t vouch for that, never having done it.

We’ll stick to the universally accepted basics: You can plant your garlic as long as the ground has not frozen. Because to blanket it with mulch. If, having been stored in the refrigerator (or elsewhere), it has become soft and the “paper” peels off easily, it may have spoiled and probably will not produce a satisfactory crop. if it’s firm and the paper is still snug on it, you should have no problem planting it and harvest it next summer…assuming that everything else (soil, weather, etc.) is favorable.

Good luck!

Hi - this is our first year

Hi - this is our first year of growing garlic. We planted in raised beds and covered with old mulch hay. My question is rotation of planting beds for garlic. I've read that you cannot replant in the same area - that you need to wait 3-4 years between using the same area. Can you tell me why? Thanks!

Hi Maria,

Hi Maria,
Crop rotation can help avoid pests/diseases that attack plants of the same family, such as the allium, or onion, family of which garlic is a part. If the same crop is grown in the same place year after year, it is more likely to attract the same pests (or the soil harbor their eggs/overwintering larvae) that attack those crops; it is the same with certain diseases, which can live in the soil. Also, different crops may use nutrients differently (such as light feeders and heavy feeders) and affect soil structure differently. So, it helps to rotate each year. A crop rotation plan groups crops of the same family together, and they are grown in another place in the garden the following year. The cycle of rotation may take 3 or more years to get back to the original planting arrangement.

For more information, you might be interested in this article and video:

Hope this helps!

I live in south Alabama. My

I live in south Alabama. My wife and I are about to plant a small patch of garlic. We have selected 5 varieties to see how well they do here in the south. We feel like our sandy soil will be a good medium to grow in. Our hope is that if all goes well, to begin growing on a small commercial scale-around 1/10th of an acre. My question concerns drying/curing. We live in a very hot and humid area of the country. Any input on how best to cure our garlic after harvest? I know dark, dry areas that are well ventilated, are best. I am just unsure of what is going to be a good place for this.

Hi, David, A word of warning

Hi, David, A word of warning to help insure you get the best results: Sandy soil is not really the best medium to grow garlic in (or, honestly, many things). While it is well draining, it does not hold nutrients. As fast as rain/water runs through sand, so fast does any fertilizer or other beneficial nutrient. Think of it another way: they garlic cloves (and other plants) have nothing to grab on to, so to speak, when planted in sand. Get yourself a bag or two of good compost and replace a few inches of sand with it, then plant the garlic cloves. Read more about how to plant and care above before you do anything else. If you don’t do this much, you probably won’t have any garlic to cure. (Just trying to help you here.)

What you might do is try to plan to harvest on a relatively low-humidity day or two. (We realize these conditions hardly ever occur in south Alabama in the middle of summer…but keep an eye out.) Barring that, harvest when the soil is dry and set the garlic aside, in shade. If you run air conditioning indoors, bring it in and put the aside where it will not be disturbed for a while. We hope this helps.

Another thought: If there are

Another thought: If there are farmers and/or gardeners in your area/vicinity, drop in on them and ask them about garlic (or other vegetables). Most folks are more than happy to share their experience and advice. They would know your area, maybe your soil, certainly your climate.

All the best

I live in Northern California

I live in Northern California (yreka area) and planted my garlic last week and the sprouts are coming up already, even though it's been dropping into 20s to 30s at night. Is this a problem? WILL they still come up this spring? Or will I need to replant?

I planted garlic on October

I planted garlic on October 10th. We have had an incredibly warm October here. Way above average. I thought my garlic would not sprout until next spring. It is already a couple of inches tall. Is this normal or is it way ahead of schedule because it's so unusually warm?

I am in Boulder, Colorado. Many thanks!

Hi, Sarah, Garlic will sprout

Hi, Sarah, Garlic will sprout in the fall if conditions such as you describe occur. It should not hurt the bulbs. Throw more mulch on them, covering the growth. This can be leaves or other organic matter. Next season they should grow as expected.


You are doing good for educating many about this and make diference in lives of people, you hava realy changed my mentalityx thanks

Thanks, Robert! We appreciate

Thanks, Robert! We appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. All the best!

how to grow garlic

hello, i need help on knowing when is the best time of month to grow garlic. This is a school project so i need help. thanks

If you are in an area of the

If you are in an area of the country that has a winter—extreme cold, snow, etc.—plant your garlic before the ground freezes: Separate the cloves, stick them in the ground (pointy-end up) a couple of inches, and cover them with soil. (Good, rich compost is best.) Cover them with a couple inches of leaves or the like and let them alone until spring.

When to plant

Love all your writings and directions, when do I plant my fall bulbs in Winchester Ky.?

Garlic planting

Thanks for your kind words, Randolph! As per above, Iif you are in an area that gets a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost. In more southerly areas, February or March is a better time to plant.  You can get an estimate of the date of your first fall frost here:

Good luck!


How often should I water my garlic in the summer and how often do I fertilize it.
And do I cover the earth with plastic after planting the garlic at the end of September so that they don't sprout before the summer of the next year.

garlic prep and care

Do not cover the garlic with plastic, Tony. Give is a blanket of mulch several inches deep (fallen leaves are great!). If you plant in well composted, well draining soil (see also above re pH and other requirements), you should not have to fertilize. Water occasionally; more if local conditions—drought to any degree—indicate. Garlic really does not ask for much, if you give it good soil.

Watering garlic

Do you water garlic after planting it in the fall

water on garlic

Hi, Claudia, It would be fine to water the garlic. Certainly if it were to rain it would get wet. So that should be no problem. Good luck with it! Garlic is one of the easiest crops!

planting garlic

I live in an area where the soil is very compact, a high percentage is clay. The wintertime is very cold. Do you have any recommendations on how to plant garlic in this type of soil? Can they be planted in planters that would be left outside all winter? My concern about containers is that they may be more likely to freeze versus planting in the ground. Any suggestions or feedback would be welcomed.

garlic in containers...

Clay is not your friend, in this case (in most cases). You could dig a hole, maybe about a foot deep and, depending on how many garlic you’re going to plant, a few feet by a few feet and replace the clay with good composted material, and then plant the garlic. They need to be a couple inches deep and apart (see above). They do not set deep roots, so that would be a suitable bed. Alternately you could put the good composted material into pots and plant the garlic in there (with/at the suggested depth) and then put the pots into holes in the ground. That way, they are more protected from the elements than if in the pots above ground, where freeze/thaw/refreeze conditions could hurt the bulbs. We hope this helps!


papery skin of garlic

As I was preparing the garlic to plant, ( my first time), the papery skin came off mand of the garlic bulbs. Can I still plant them?

garlic skin

You can still plant the garlic cloves, but without their individual protective layer (sometimes called a “tunic”), they might be more susceptible to diseases. Before planting, some gardeners soak their cloves (usually unpeeled, but sometimes peeled) in a solution of 1 gallon water to 1 tablespoon baking soda overnight (some add a little liquid seaweed to the solution). Then just before planting, soak them in rubbing alcohol for about 4 minutes. This helps to prevent disease. You might try that with some of your cloves to see if it might help. Good luck!

Thin skinned garlic

Most of this year's harvested garlic has only a two or three layers of skin and the bulbs are not tight at all. Can you offer any suggestions why this might be so?
Thanks...j (Victoria, B.C.)

A Deep Question

Hi, Jill: Often this is caused by the garlic not having been planted deep enough. Sounds like you’re a veteran and know what you’re doing, but do be sure that they are down about 3 inches or so, depending on variety. Thanks for asking!

best time to plant garlic

In my country rains starts early November anf ends somewhere may.when is the appropriate time to plant garlic

Curing Garlic

I read your article on growing garlic carefully, several times through. I harvested mine today and I am very pleased with the results. I'm not sure where to hang it to cure…inside…outside…does it hurt if it rains on it?

Where to Cure Garlic

We’re so glad to hear that you’re pleased with your garlic! It can be tough to find an ideal curing location. It should be out of bright sun to prevent sunscald, and it should also be sheltered from rain, but you don’t want the garlic to become diseased if placed in a poorly ventilated place like a barn. It might be best to hang them inside, but perhaps by a window, where they would have proper air circulation. It should be a warm and dry area.

Indoor garlic growing

Just a question. I've never grown garlic before, but I saw that my garlic had green shoots coming out of the cloves so I decided to plant them. Living in an apartment and moving around a lot, i can't have a garden so for right now I put everything in pots. I have a 12 inch by 4 inch rectangular pot that's about 6 or so inches deep. I planted 4 nice sized cloves in the pot about an inch or so under the dirt. I have it in a window that gets the most sun (which is a lot) I'm just wondering if there's anything else I should know or do about caring for it. I saw that watering it every 3-5 days was good, and usually if you plant in the fall you can get them in the summer. Is that all still the same since I'm growing indoors?

Growing Garlic

Hi Nicole,

Garlic is typically planted into the ground in the fall and harvested in the summer. Unfortunately, growing it indoors in winter doesn’t allow for the kind of conditions it needs–at least 40 days of temperatures below 40°F are required for it to form bulbs.


I planted garlic in 2015 and missed pulling several ....they came back after another winter. Are they good to eat or just replant them...

2-season garlic

It would probably be best to replant. These were planted in spring 2015, or fall? Sometimes if cloves are left in the ground too long, they will form loose heads, in which case they usually do not store as well. The best way to determine is to pull a bulb up and see what it looks like – is it compact or loose? Does it look healthy (no sign of rot or other disease)? Does it have cloves forming off the main bulb? If it looks good, you might try a sample. Otherwise, it would be best to replant. 

mulching,in fall

hi, never grown before, always the first, do i mulch after first frost to prevent rodents from bedding or before, and the depth needed for protection, i live in New Brunswick Canada, we do have some cold snowy winters, tku

mulching garlic

You can apply 6 inches of straw in fall. Many gardeners apply it at planting time, while others in cold climates prefer to wait until after the first frost or two. Some say to avoid straw, as it can encourage the wheat curl mite, which attacks garlic. Alternatively, you can use chopped leaves. Pull back the mulch in spring after threat of frost has passed, to help the soil warm. Some gardeners keep the mulch on in spring, but just enough to suppress weeds/conserve moisture. If your area is wet, it is best not to keep the mulch on during the growing season.

Growing garlic

I have never grown garlic so do not know if a garlic crop has an odor while it is growing and when it is harvested.
Someone wants to lease 5-8 acres of my land to plant garlic for commercial sale and I want to know if this crop will have an odor during growing and harvest.

Garlic smells

Garlic only smells when it is out of the ground so you shouldn't smell a thing unless it's harvest time and the garlics are upwind of you in a pile. But even then the smell shouldn't travel too far.


Do Garlic do well in wetlands

Too much water is not good

Too much water is not good for garlic; it will cause the bulbs to rot.

Iam from Uganda i did

Iam from Uganda i did bachelors in Agriculture so i love getting information and new innovations

Storing garlic

I'm confused on the storage requirements you mention above. How do I provide 40 degrees F and dry storage? Thank you!


I leave some of my garlic in the ground and it comes up the next year. Each clove grows another bulb.

should you keep your garlic

should you keep your garlic in the frig.

Garlic bulbs do not need to

Garlic bulbs do not need to be refrigerated.

Fertilize required

In order to get large heads of garlic, should a root fertilizer be added to the soi?
My heads are small but some farmers near by have large heads.........

how to grow large garlic

This might sound silly, but to get large garlic you have to plant large garlic cloves. Hopefully in the fall you planted the biggest cloves and left the smaller cloves for kitchen use. When greens start to grow, you should add a teaspoon or two of high-nitrogen fertilizer and work it into the soil around each plant. If your garlic is producing flowers, cut the stalks.

sorry I have but a question,

sorry I have but a question, how many months does garlic take before harvesting? Thanks.

garlic harvesting

Garlic usually requires 180 to 210 days to harvest to maturity.

No sprouts, no roots... Purple?!

Is my garlic clove okay? It's turning purple (haven't planted it yet either), not rooting, or even sprouting. Each day the purple areas get larger.

There are some garlic

There are some garlic varieties that have purple cloves. Usually you plant garlic in the fall and harvest in the summer. If you only have one clove you can plant it in a pot and see what happens. Read our planting incormation at the top of this page.

Growing Garlic to ward off pests on roses

Hi, we do eat and love garlic, but I'm wondering about planting for pest control in the front garden (cut worms, aphids) on roses. I've heard it works. In this case (not necessarily to eat), is any pruning required? I've also likely left it too late - it's now May 7, zone 6B, but as long as it grows, I'm hoping it will work, thank you!

garlic as a repellent crop

It is worth a try. Garlic is said to act as a repellent crop for aphids when planted near roses. It is thought that the scent is one reason why aphids tend to avoid it. In this case, keeping as much of the plant as you can might create the best effect (stronger scent), so you may want to leave the garlic be and not trim the scapes when they appear. As for timing, it might be too late to plant garlic for producing large cloves, and likely will not be ready for harvest before winter hits, but the bulb will probably still produce leaves and perhap scapes this season. All plant parts, including the bulb, should serve as a repellent.

Fresh garlic -- can it still be used?

I know this question is not really about growing or harvesting garlic but I cannot find anywhere else online that answers my question so I am hoping someone here can help. Yesterday morning at the local farmers market I bought some fresh garlic (about 4" of the stalk was still on, etc) and I didn't even think to ask about storing it. I stored it like I would dried garlic: sitting in a little basket in the kitchen, not refrigerated. Now I am wondering if I should have stored it in the fridge instead. I saw online that it should be stored in the fridge for about a week but I'm wondering if it's still okay to use after 1 day. It isn't mushy or anything like that, it looks perfectly fine and it was stored in a condo that had the a/c set to 73 for most of the day. Is it safe to use or should I throw it out and use something else? I already made salad dressing with it and would hate to lose that but will gladly toss it if it's not safe.
Thank you in advance!
-- Susan

Some additional information

Sorry, I probably should have mentioned that the garlic head is white and then the cloves themselves are a purple striped variety. The stalk is green and soft, not dried out, as are the individual cloves (cloves are white, not green).

-- Susan

storing garlic

Hey Sue, I store all my garlic,(I eat it everyday in 1 form or another) but I just store mine in a brown paper bag in a cool dark place and it seems to last forever, have never had a problem with this method, I grow in my garden and store a lot of bulbs, good luck sue

Planting garlic in commercial quantity

I am regular consumer of garlic. I experienced scarcity of it of recent. Am a farmer and I decided to start planting it for me and other consumers. I want a comprehensive information on garlic, periodic update on it and it's uses.

New to Garlic

I am at the moment of this message, taking my first step into a garlic crop. Anybody have anything that comes to mind at this point that you would like to share with me? I live in Zone 7. I'm not sure yet just how much I want to attempt to grow. OR..OR... How to find a buyer for it either. I could use any and all advise anyone cares to share.. Thank you so much in advance.!!

"a buyer for it"

Do you mean a place where you can purchase the garlic, or a place to sell it to once it's grown? If you're looking for a place to buy it from, try, or, or

Is it too late to plant my

Is it too late to plant my garlic? I live in 6b.

spring planting

It’s best to plant in the fall, but depending on your microclimate, it may still be OK to plant in March in Zone 6b (ideally, as soon as the soil can be worked). You may get small bulbs, however. Check the chilling requirements of your variety; they may require about 8 weeks of refrigerator storage to get them to grow properly and form cloves.

Last Year's Garlic

All 3 dozen of my garlic plants still have one stalk growing . 6 to 8 inches. I pulled one plant, and it has a half inch small round head. Ohio did have a very mild winter. I will take your advice and plant more. Thank you.

i planted garlic in spring of

i planted garlic in spring of 2015 and left them in all year and winter. are they still good to harvest in summer of 2016?

last year's garlic

You planted last spring. Did anything happen—did you get growth? If you “picked” (pulled up) any heads, you would see that the one clove planted became several in the head.

If you left those in the ground…you might find a clump. Or you might find rot, depending on the conditions.

If it’s a harvest you’re after in summer 2016, your best bet is to plant fresh cloves NOW. Don’t wait too long.

Then see what the old ones do. (If there are so many in the ground, pull one or two up now and see what they look like; that may be the best indication of what to expect later—if anything at all.)

I planted my bulbs about a

I planted my bulbs about a week ago an theyhave grown 3.5 to 4 in necks... the root system doesn't seem to strong to me but they have out grown my flats.. would you go ahead an replant them in something brigger? I am wanting to replant them in my raise garden.

Deer has eaten garlic tops

Deer has eaten off the 6 inch shoots off my hard neck garlic this spring - never before! Will it come back? I live in Victoria Canada

when do i plant

please when do i plant garlic in Ghana?

Need to email me how to

Need to email me how to harvest garlic

How to harvest Garlic

Maureen, the article spelled out every step. Did you read it all the way through? Somebody went to great effort to put this article out for us. Be courteous and read it.

growing garlic

I live in rural Hong Kong and have a roof, which is actually an open flat space. It was always my dream to turn it into a lovely roof garden, but I gave up trying to grow flowers in pots there years ago. The climate here is just too severe - relentless rain for days - or weeks - on end. And then searing sunlight. Plus, so much humidity. After buying some herbal plants at a flower show (they looked MUCH healthier and were MUCH cheaper than the ones I've tried buying at the supermarket, which have always died within a short period of time), I've decided to try growing an herb garden. I've already planted two types of basel, rosemary, and mint, and they seem to be doing well (but it is still early days). When I noticed that some of the garlic in my kitchen was starting to sprout, I decided to try that, too. Interesting that you say that you shouldn't plant garlic bought at the market. Oh, well, I'll give it a try and see what happens. You say that garlic is a natural bug repellent. Hopefully, if it grows, it will stop the bugs from spoiling my basel. Any thoughts?


I too am growing garlic bought from the store. I live in North America and am having great success with my plants. The tops measure 10 inches with a base that resembles a leek. I have never grown garlic before which is the reason, I am on this site. I needed to know, when to harvest my newest plants.
If you like asparagus, they like a lot of water and full sun. Artichokes too. Good luck with the garden.

What is the best climate

Thanks for your article. am actually planning to plant about 10000 Sq feet of garlic next season. Am in Uganda, right now were are experiencing the start of a hot/sunny season which lasts about 3 and half months and the sun is really hot up to about 30 degrees Celsius but when the rains come in March until June temperatures cool to a range between 15 - 28 Degrees Celsius.
Do you think i will be able to harvest good crop in that short period given our temperature ranges?

short season for garlic

It seems like 3 ½ months of “summer” would be cutting it close for growing garlic. Garlic generally prefers cool weather to develop foliage and warm weather to grow the bulb. Planting in warm conditions that you describe may be too much heat all at once. Then you have to consider hardneck vs soft neck; hardneck grows best in places with a cold winter; soft neck is a better choice for areas that have a mild winter. 30°F seems a bit warmer than “mild” (as you say, it’s “hot”), but gardening is an experiment. You might do very well.


With this crazy warm winter in New England, our garlic is shooting up leaves, too. We will do what you have advised others and add more mulch to the beds. With signs of colder weather coming in, will the plants become dormant and survive all this bizarre warm winter weather? Thanks!

What to do with my garlic growing now

My husband and I planted our garlic last month and we are now getting large green stems coming up, they are about 3 to 4 inches tall. We live up in the Adirondacks and we did have a frost, but it's been much warmer. What should we do to save them? Thank you.

Place a layer of thick mulch,

Place a layer of thick mulch, such as straw, over them so that they are completely covered. Leave it on over winter and remove once the bulbs start growing again in spring. The leaves that are up now might get damaged, but the bulbs should survive over winter if protected with a cozy layer of mulch (and if the bulbs don’t stand in water, etc).

Growing garlic

I planted my garlic 4 weeks ago when the temperature was starting to dip, but since then we have had a few 20+ days and I noticed that I have 5 garlic sprouts growing. When the frost hits will these bulbs die?

Garlic sprouting

It’s not uncommon for garlic to start early, as you describe, in the conditions we’ve been having. Mulch it more—as much as you think necessary to cover it. In spring, you can always clear off some of the mulch.

Growing Garlic

I have seen so many recommendations on the depth garlic cloves should be planted. This includes sitting on top of the ground to three inches deep. Which is the best

Hi Steven,

Hi Steven,

We recommend to plant cloves 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep.

The reason there are so many

The reason there are so many different planting depths is the climate to the local garlic grower. If you are in climate zone 3 you will need to plant deeper than someone in climate zone 6 for example. I live in climate zone 3 so we have cold winters, but consideration also has to be given to how much snow stays on the ground as this will help moderate temperature. Maritimers and some spots in the prairies can be very cold but also have warm periods that melt away that blanket of snow, this can be dangerous for their plants so they would have to plant deeper or use more mulch than I would. I plant at 3-4 inches and add another 3-4 inches of mulch. I know one farmer who plants at a depth of 8 inches but he does not use mulch (My back hurts imagining harvesting garlic planted at 8 inches). In warmer climates you may be able to get away with planting at just a few inches. The whole point of planting depth is to ensure the temperature is moderated. The last thing you want is to have your growing garlic going through freeze and thaw cylces in the spring and fall because it was too close to the surface... this can and will cause root damage as the earth contracts and expands. Just my 2 cents.

Harvesting greens

Everywhere I read that the early greens on garlic can be eaten, but I can't find a proper harvest method. I see a few people in the comments have accidentally taken off all their greens, thinking they were scapes. How do I harvest garlic greens? Do I just cut off some of the greens and leave some? Do I take just the tops off all of the greens? I don't want to interfere with their growth, but I don't wasn't to waste the plant energy or tasty bits if I don't have to!

Hi Becky,

Hi Becky,

As the scape grows taller it will begin to curl at the top. At that point, cut the stalk as far down as you can without cutting any leaves off.

Sorry, you misunderstood the question

My question was NOT about scapes, but about the new green leaves. For example, one site says:
The Three Harvests of Garlic

With garlic, there are three harvests or crops you can use: the first harvest is in early spring, when garlic plants are about a foot tall. You can either cut some greens or pull some complete plants as scallions and use them in your cooking as a source of fresh garlic.The second harvest is the scapes. Around mid June, hardneck garlic varieties send up a round stalk or scape. When the scapes curl, snap them off. This enables the plants to put their energy into bulb formation. The scapes are delicious and should not be discarded but used in place of garlic bulbs. They contain loads of garlic oil and have the same health benefits as the bulbs. Scapes can be refrigerated in plastic bags for about 3 months.The main harvest is when the underground bulbs are dug, cured and stored for fall and winter use. This is the most critical harvest requiring meticulous care to give you top quality, keeping garlic. Careless harvesting can ruin a fine crop of garlic..

My question is about the first stage of harvest. Many sites say to take one-third, but I don't know if that means one-third off the top of every single leaf, or one-third of the total leaves.

Take ⅓ of the total leaves.

Take ⅓ of the total leaves. This will not hurt the growth and the plant will still produce a scape and a full bulb at the end.

planting garlic

Due to sickness I missed my regular early October garlic planting. How late do I dare plant? It is almost November now. Should I wait til spring. (Upstate New York/ Adirondack area)

Go For It

Hi, Barbara: Glad you’re feeling better! Click on Gardening above, then Gardening Calendar. Enter your zip code or, if necessary, select the town nearest you from the list under Browse by State. The tool will give you color-coded dates for when to do what with garlic. It may not be too late at all! Thanks for asking!

As long as you can dig in the

As long as you can dig in the dirt you can plant the garlic. Get the cloves planted as soon as possible and add a bit of mulch over the plantings.

Planting Garlic

When you say to plant the cloves 2" deep, is the 2" measured from the TOP of the clove under the soil, or from the BOTTOM of the clove under the soil? (I'm in Colorado, if that helps.)
Is the spacing 4" for all varieties?
Thank you

depth to plant

Dig a 2-inch deep hole and set the clove upright, so that the base is 2 inches deep. For larger cloves, you can dig a 3-inch-deep hole.

Four-inch spacing is an average; if you have a larger variety, you can allow 1 or 2 more inches between plants, if needed (so 4 to 6 inches apart). (Please note: This does not include elephant garlic.)

Why is my garlic sprouting

I live in BC and planted my garlic 2 weeks ago and placed a layer of dried leaves over it. I just went outside and I have sprouts 4-6 inches high. I thought those wouldn't show up till spring. What do I do?

leaving heads in ground

what happens if you leave a hardneck variety , planted in the fall , in the ground when ready to pick that next summer ? If you don't dig it up , will it produce a megahead the following year? If you don't dig up your garlic for several or more years in a row...what happens? If you plant an entire head instead of a clove....what happens. assuming cutting scapes as they appear and a zone 6.

If you leave a bulb in the

If you leave a bulb in the ground in the fall, it will likely come back next year shooting up scapes from each clove in the bulb. Bulbs with a few cloves, 2 to 6, can be planted whole. Each clove will send up a scape next year and you will have several plants growing closely together in a clump. You will probably get tiny bulbs and they will be flat on the side that was pushing against the other bulbs.


I purchased garlic plants from the local nursery. Planted them in the spring. Not much happened until early September. Now they are growing tall with green stems. Can i leave them through the winter or harvest before the first hard frost. I live in Long island NY

You can check and see if you

You can check and see if you have bulbs growing that are big enough to harvest. Try to get them harvested before the soil freezes. Now is the time to plant garlic for next year. See if you can plant some cloves now for a harvest next summer.

bad advice

Bad advice off the top. You do not plant garlic in the spring, you plant it in the fall.
If you plant it in the spring it will not grow properly.

Fall is the best time to

Fall is the best time to plant garlic in most parts of North America. In the southern states early spring or late winter may be better for a good harvest.

I've cracked my garlic too

I've cracked my garlic too soon! Like a couple months too soon. Is it still okay to plant?

If by cracked you mean split

If by cracked you mean split apart the bulbs they should be fine. They may dry out a bit but store them in a cool dark place until you are ready to plant. When choosing which cloves to plant pick the plump ones and discard any that are too soft or squishy.

I missed a few heads while

I missed a few heads while gathering my garlic this past Spring. The four heads I missed began to sprout a month ago. I did dig them up today as I was cleaning out bed, but they are not actual formed heads; they are individual cloves in a clump that have sprouted roots and green tops. Can I just replant them as though they are individual new cloves?

I’ve done the same thing. It

I’ve done the same thing. It is easy to miss one now and then. I have successfully split apart the sprouted head and replanted the individual cloves. Mulch them well and with any luck they will be up and growing again in the spring.

I have been growing garlic in

I have been growing garlic in Arizona for years in my backyard raised garden. I have been using garlic from the previous crop but this past year they bulbs were small. I read that you should not continue to use from previous crops and at some point start fresh. So my question is do I have to purchase organic garlic or will garlic from my local grocery store (that isn't organic) work just as well?


It is best to purchase

It is best to purchase certified seed garlic from a reputable source rather than resorting to grocery store garlic. You will have more varieties to choose from that will be suitable for your area. Most grocery store garlic is from China and is treated to keep it from sprouting.

I live in Midcoast Maine and

I live in Midcoast Maine and plant my garlic every year after the first frost in mid-November. This year, I'll be away from October till December 1, so I was going to plant my garlic at the end of September before leaving town.

Is this okay or should I wait until I return in December?

Thanks!! ;-)

Hi, MGL: Sounds OK to us!

Hi, MGL: Sounds OK to us! Good luck!

Thank you - I appreciate your

Thank you - I appreciate your quick reply!

Hi im from Nova Scotia Canada

Hi im from Nova Scotia Canada and this is my first year planting garlic.I planted the bulbs this summer not knowing i should wait for fall.Im wondering if i should leave them in the ground over winter then harvest next summer?

Thanks Suzanne :)

Hi, Suzanne: This somewhat

Hi, Suzanne: This somewhat depends on how early in the summer you planted. If you're not seeing scapes of significant size to indicate that a small harvest might be possible, just go ahead and leave them in the ground -- but mulch them well for protection against the winter. Thanks for asking!

I'm new to growing garic and

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

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

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?

If you are not 100% sure that

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.

Take it to your local

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

I live in southern Ontario

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is it too late to plant now

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

Late September through

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

I just found this site and

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Sounds like leek moths

This sounds like your garden has been found by the leek moth. These are relatively new to Ontario and Quebec. Google leek moth damage to see if it looks like what is happening to your plants. Leek moths propogate quickly throughout the summer so if they are leek moths you'll want to have a plan for the spring.

Floating row covers work well to keep the moth from laying their larvae on the plants and has proven to be just as effective as the organic pesticides recomended.

When do I cut the flowering

When do I cut the flowering heads off my garlic?

Hi, Bobby, I tend to cut them

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most garlic varieties do not

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.

The are called garlic bulbils

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.

Last year I bought a lot of

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 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

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.

Hi there! I see you live

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!

I'm in SC also. Last October,

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. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Check the soil moisture: too

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:

Hi. I am also from NC and

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! :-)

I am going to be planting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

Usually garlic becomes

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).

Garlic flavor depends on

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.

hi i planted a garlic in

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

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

can garlic grow in Guyana

I live on the kenai peninsula

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are several types of

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

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,

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

no i planted my garlic bulb october will it be ok

Planting 2 year old cloves?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

"Ever" is the key word, here,

"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.

Hi Lisa, My true seed garlic

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.

This is my second year with

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

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

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

this is my first year with

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

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

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

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

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 @

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 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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I purchased some garlic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

It will take longer for

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.

I live in south Jersey and

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.

In some areas farmers used to

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I planted my garlic in the fall. I have several shoots comping up from what I thought was one 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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???

My child chopped down my beautiful garlic

I popped into the house to grab my plate of food and stupidly left my son with his own dinner and a fork. I came out only a minute later(!) and he was holding up his fork with a devilish grin and the remains of my garlic plants at his feet. All of them. It is June 8th in Toronto Ontario. Some of them still have two leaves on them but he cut right through the hard stalks. Are they ruined? *Trying not to cry*

I bought a clove of garlic

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

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.

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

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.


Botanical Name: 

Allium sativum

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Hardiness Zone: 

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