Garlic Planting Tips


Garlic, a member of the allium family and is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Garlic is a perennial herb that grows best in full sun.

  • A perennial herb that grows best in full sun

  • Fertile soil pH between 6.0-8.0. Accepts a wide range of soil type

  • Heavy nitrogen feeder. Fertilize when shoots come up and 3 weeks later

  • Plant cloves in fall

  • Harvest in early summer 150-200 days after planting

  • Garlic is ready to harvest when tops dry and begin to fall to the ground

  • Discontinue irrigation when bulb reach desired size

  • Plant pointed end up - blunt end down

  • Select correct variety for the region

    • Hardneck - Harsh winter  

    • Softneck - Mild winter

Companions- fruit trees, dill, beets, kale, spinach, potatoes, carrots, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, roses, geraniums, marigolds, nasturtiums, rue, chamomile, yarrow, summer savory

Avoid- asparagus, peas, beans, sage, and parsley

Types- There are two types of garlic: hardneck or softneck. The type or variety of garlic you choose to plant is determined by your climate.


  • for areas with harsh winters

  • favored by gourmet chefs

  • is closely related to wild garlic

  • has large bulbs that produce 4-12 excellently sized cloves

  • is easier to peel and also provides a scape, the sizeable flowering stalk. This can be removed and eaten early in the summer to help get the bulbs to increase in size.  Softneck does not produce a scab and is easier to grow than its hardneck variety. Instead, all of the energy is sent to bulb production. Softneck bulbs can have between 10- 40 small cloves.  This is what you usually find at the grocery stores.


  • for areas with a milder winter

  • does not produce a scab and is easier to grow than the hardneck variety.  

  • All of the energy is sent to bulb production

  • can have between 10- 40 small cloves

  • This variety is what you usually find at the grocery stores

Planting and Harvesting- Garlic is adaptable with the ability to thrive in soils with a wide pH range, from 6.0-8.4, and grows in fertile, well-drained, moist soils full of organic matter.   

Before planting incorporate 4-6” organic matter and an all-purpose fertilizer into the bed. Work these 6-8” deep in into the soil.  Garlic is a heavy feeder in order to produce good size bulbs.

Garlic grows best in cool conditions, which is why it is planted in the fall. It needs 6-8 weeks where the average temperature is around 40º F to initiate vernalization.  The bulbing process begins after vernalization, the soil temperature exceeds 60º F, and day length increases to 12 or more hours of sunlight.

Garlic does not have seeds well not in the sense of broccoli seeds or tomato seeds. To grow garlic, you must plant cloves.  Purchase these cloves from a national garlic producer. Even garlic cloves from the grocery store can be planted. Be forewarned that the bulbs may be sprayed with a rooting inhibitor that is supposed to stop them from producing.

To grow large size bulbs garlic cannot be overcrowded.  Plant the cloves 1–2 inches deep with the pointed side up. Make sure to leave 6” between each clove planted and leave 9–24 inches between rows.  The final bulb size is directly correlated to the clove size.  So to yield larger bulbs at harvest time, you need to plant larger cloves initially.

One of the benefits of growing garlic in your garden is its companion plant ability.  It has an extensive list of garden companions and provides immense benefits for these companions.  Detering pest and acting as a natural fungicide are two of the most important benefits. The list of companion plants is listed above.

Begin harvesting garlic as soon as the tops turn yellow and fall to the ground.  This is a sign that the bulbs have reached their maturity. Harvesting too early reduces storage abilities, and harvesting too late usually results in split garlic bulbs.  Garlic is ready to eat as soon as it is harvested. If long-term storage is desired the bulbs will need to be cured. Either braid garlic ropes or places bulbs in a room with good airflow for 3 weeks. When the outer two leaves are dry, the garlic is cured.

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment