Growing Garlic from Planting Through Harvest

Growing Garlic From Planting to Harvest

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Garlic is best planted before winter in many areas. It’s very easy to grow; all it needs to thrive is a sunny spot and good drainage. In this video, we demonstrate how to plant, harvest, and store these beautiful bulbs so you can enjoy perfect garlic every time.

Gorgeous garlic packs a pungent punch, making it an indispensable addition to so many recipes—and every vegetable garden. 

There are two types of garlic: ‘hardneck’ and ‘softneck’.

  • Hardneck varieties produce edible scapes (flower stems) which should be cut off to promote plumper bulbs. The scapes have a mild garlic taste that is great in salads and stir-fries. Hardneck varieties are more tolerant of cold weather than softneck types.
  • Softneck varieties don’t produce scapes but store for longer than hardnecks.

Originating from central Asia, garlic loves a sunny location in fertile, free-draining soil. You can improve your soil by digging in plenty of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost, a few months before planting.

How to Plant Garlic

Plant garlic in the fall. Choose a sunny location and rich and well-drained, soil. Our Garden Planner can help you find out the best times to plant in your area. Add garlic to your plan then take a look at the Plant List to see recommended planting and expected harvesting times.

To plant your garlic, gently break apart the bulb into individual cloves. Plant them about six inches apart, leaving a foot between rows.  Cover with soil so the tips are just below the surface. If birds pull up the cloves, replant them and protect them with a row cover to prevent it happening again.

In very cold areas, plant garlic cloves in plug trays and keep them under cover until spring.

You can also grow garlic in containers at least eight inches wide. Plant the cloves so they are four to six inches apart in each direction. Place the container in a sunny spot, and water in dry weather.

Caring for Garlic

Garlic needs very little attention during the growing season. Water if the weather is dry, and keep the spaces between the rows well weeded. Adding an organic mulch (e.g. grass clippings) occasionally will help to feed plants and keep the soil cool and moist.

How to Harvest Garlic

Harvest garlic when the leaves have begun to turn yellow in summer. Ease the bulbs out of the soil using a fork or trowel. Dry them out somewhere warm and airy. Once dry, brush off any remaining soil and cut off the leaves. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place on wire racks, or plait the leaves and use them to hang up strings of garlic. Garlic bulbs should store for at least three months.

For more information, see the Almanac’s Garlic Growing Guide.

Plan the perfect garden! We’d love to welcome you to our Almanac Garden Planner

Reader Comments

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Growing garlic

This was my first year growing garlic. When I harvested my garlic I noticed that at the end of some of my roots was a growth that looked like a clove of garlc. I put them back in the soil. Will i have to replant next month or will these cloves germinate into regular garlic.

I'm now a garlic, onion,

I'm now a garlic, onion, ginger, tumeric gardener, thank you so much for the tutorial on how to get better results.
Can I say ,Wow, I'm amazed.

Happy Gardening.

garlic

while I enjoyed the show it didn't provided the answer to my problem. I've planted garlic the last three years an get very small bulbs, my soil has a lot of heavy clay and even with tilling in mulch for eight years it is still very heavy. while the rest of my acre plus garden does very well my garlic is terrible since I put up over 60 quarts of dill pickles a year buying garlic is a cost that I would like to avoid, not to mention that I eat a clove a day as well as use a lot in cooking . I purchased my planting Garlic from a seed company and planted five pounds of cloves but have never had any luck. I'm about to give up any help would be gratefully excepted the growing season is from late April to early October.

Some help for you

I’d recommend adding rich, well-rotted compost or manure from a trusted source to the soil just before planting, and possibly add a balanced organic fertilizer in spring too. Make sure to keep the bulbs well-watered. Planting in fall can help to produce a bigger crop that a spring planting. If his climate is very cold, planting into plug trays in fall for planting out in spring may be a better choice.

Garlic bulbs

I pulled some garlic and on the roots are little cloves what are these a.d what are they good for

Garlic

We’re not sure what you mean.  When you plant cloves, the bottom of the clove will put down the roots, and the pointy top will sprout the leaves. See our Garlic Growing Guide for more information: https://www.almanac.com/plant/garlic

garlic video

Thank you for your help in planting garlic ~ it is the first time i have tried to grow it. ~

Garlic

Where do you get the starts can you use ones out of store?

Garlic Starters

Some folks report success with store-bought garlic, but your best bet would be to find locally-grown garlic and plant that instead. This way, you will know that the variety is hardy in your area and that the garlic has not been treated with chemicals. So, if you have the option to buy locally-grown garlic, do so, but if not, then store-bought should suffice.

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