Home and Garden
Home and Garden
Home and Garden
Home and Garden

Guide to Growing and Harvesting Garlic

Jump to RecipeLarge amount of garlic bulbs.

Garlic is a popular ingredient in many dishes worldwide. Its distinct flavor and health benefits make it a must-have ingredient in most kitchens. Growing garlic is relatively easy, and with the right conditions, you can have a successful harvest.

Types of Garlic to Grow

Garlic is a versatile ingredient that comes in many types, each with its unique taste and health benefits.

Softneck Garlic

The most common type of garlic is the softneck garlic, which is often found in grocery stores. Softneck garlic has a mild flavor and a long shelf life, making it an excellent choice for many dishes.

Hardneck Garlic

This variety is known for its robust flavor and is often used in recipes that call for a strong garlic taste. Hardneck garlic also produces garlic scapes, which are the green shoots that grow from the garlic bulb. These scapes can be harvested and used in many dishes, such as stir-fries and soups. One of my favorite hardneck varieties is the german hardneck.

Elephant Garlic

If you are looking for a type of garlic with a sweet and nutty flavor, then elephant garlic is for you. Elephant garlic is much larger than other types of garlic, with bulbs that can reach up to 5 inches in diameter. Elephant garlic is a little harder to find. If you want to grow this variety I suggest ordering it online. Here is one I have grown before: Elephant Garlic.

How to Grow Garlic

I have been growing garlic for the past few years and I have had some successes and some failures. Here are some tips and steps I wish I knew when I was starting to grow garlic.

1. Choose the right time to plant

Garlic is usually planted in the fall, several weeks before the first frost. The ideal time to plant garlic is in mid-autumn, between mid-September and early November. The reason for planting at this time is that the cloves need a period of cold weather to develop into bulbs. Planting in the fall also allows the garlic to establish roots before the winter.

Sometimes when I plant garlic in the fall, it starts to sprout before the first frost. This is ok. The garlic will do fine even if it started to sprout before the winter frost.

2. Choose the right location

Garlic grows best in full sun, in soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. The ideal pH range for garlic is between 6.0 and 7.5. It is best to avoid planting garlic in areas that receive a lot of water or areas that are prone to flooding. Garlic also does not grow well in compacted soil.

3. Prepare the soil for growing garlic

Prepare the soil before planting garlic by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will improve soil drainage and provide the garlic with essential nutrients. You can also add bone meal or blood meal to the soil to provide extra nutrients for the garlic.

You want the soil to be rich and fluffy. If the soil is too compact the garlic bulb will have a hard time growing and forming.

I like to add some compost when I first plant them and then add an organic fertilizer int he spring when the ground starts to thaw. That way it has extra nutrients throughout the whole growing season.

4. Plant the garlic cloves

Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, making sure to leave the papery skin intact. Plant each clove about 2 inches deep, with the pointed end facing up. The cloves should be spaced about 4 to 6 inches apart and in rows that are spaced about 12 inches apart. Cover the cloves with soil and water them thoroughly.

5. Water regularly

Garlic requires regular watering, especially during the growing season. Water the garlic every few days, or when the soil feels dry to the touch. It is best to water in the morning or early afternoon, as this allows the garlic to absorb the water before the sun evaporates it.

I don’t typically water through the winter. I live in Michigan and we get a lot of snow so when that snow melts it waters the soil pretty well. If you live in a very dry climate I would maybe go out a couple of times throughout the winter to give them a little bit of water.

6. Mulch

Mulching around the garlic plants helps to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Mulch with straw, hay, or chopped leaves, making sure to avoid covering the garlic shoots. Leave a small space around each plant to prevent rotting.

This is optional but nice to do. I have grown garlic without mulching and it still does very well for me.

7. Fertilize

Garlic requires regular fertilization to grow healthy and strong. Fertilize the garlic with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 12-12-12, in the early spring. Apply the fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet of garlic bed.

8. Weed control

Weed the garlic bed regularly to prevent the weeds from competing with the garlic for nutrients and water. Use a hoe or hand-weeder to remove weeds, being careful not to disturb the garlic plants.

9. Garlic Harvest Time

Garlic is usually ready for harvest in the summer, between June and August. The garlic leaves will start to turn brown and dry up, indicating that the garlic is ready for harvesting. To harvest the garlic, loosen the soil around the bulbs with your hands or a garden fork, being careful not to damage the bulbs. Lift the bulbs out of the ground and dry them in a well-ventilated area for several weeks.

I typically lay them out on a wooden palette on my deck for a few days. After a couple days, I brush the dry loose dirt off of the bulbs. Then you can hang dry them or lay them out to dry fully.

You want to make sure they are in a dry area that won’t get any rain or moisture. during this period.

Fresh picked garlic bulbs in a basket.

10. Garlic Storage

Store the garlic in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. You can braid the garlic together and hang it in a cool, dry place, such as a basement or pantry. You can also store the garlic in a mesh bag or a paper bag. Stored garlic can last for several months, depending on the conditions.

Where to Buy Garlic to Grow

When it comes to buying garlic to grow, there are a few options available. You can purchase garlic cloves from a garden center or nursery, where they may have a selection of different varieties. You may also be able to find garlic bulbs for planting at a farmer's market or specialty food store.

When buying garlic for planting, make sure to choose high-quality, disease-free bulbs or cloves. It's also a good idea to choose a variety that is well-suited to your climate and growing conditions.

Another option is to purchase garlic online from seed companies or garden supply stores. A few that I have bought from are Botanical Interest. I like their Sicilian Softneck and the German Hardneck varieties. The online seed companies often sell out so make sure to get your order in early.

Health Benefits of Garlic

Aside from adding flavor to dishes, garlic also has many health benefits. Garlic is known to have antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help boost the immune system. Garlic is also known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, garlic is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Bowl of garlic bulbs.

Garlic is a great one to grow, even beginner gardener can have luck with this in the garden. The harvest will even last you through the winter. If you have any tips or favorite garlic varieties to grow, share them in the comments!

Products Showcased

No items found.

Add a Comment

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.

Related Posts

Join The Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.