- Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended for most gardeners. Plant in the fall and you’ll find that your bulbs are bigger and more flavorful when you harvest the next summer.
- In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost. In southern areas, February or March is a better time to plant.
- Break apart cloves from bulb at planting time, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
- Plant cloves about one month before the ground freezes.
- Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Select a sunny spot.
- Place cloves 4-6 inches apart and 2 inches deep in rows 15 to 24 inches apart, in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up). Plant Elephant Garlic varieties about 3 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches apart.
- Mulch heavily after planting to prevent soil heaving – particularly with less hardy elephant garlic varieties. Roots will begin to grow even though top growth may not be evident in late fall and winter. Remove mulch in spring, leaving only what is needed to suppress weeds.
- For larger bulbs, remove woody flower stalks (scapes) as they appear. Bulblet at top of scape can be used in cooking.
- In the spring, as warmer temperatures come, shoots will emerge through the ground.
- Northern gardeners should mulch heavily with straw for overwintering.
- Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (Young shoots can’t survive in temps below 20°F on their own. Keep them under cover.)
- Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size.
- Weeds should not be a problem until the spring. Weed as needed.
- Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly, especially if you see yellowing leaves.
- Water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June).
- A note on garlic scapes: Some folks love cooking the scapes (the tops of hardneck garlic). Whether you trim the scapes or let them keep growing is your preference.
- Choose a weed-free, well-drained full sun location. Raised beds are ideal.
- Do not plant where other onion family crops have been grown in the past 3 years.
Break apart cloves from a bulbs a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove. Select a sunny spot. Place cloves in their upright position (the wide root facing down and pointed end facing up) when planting.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I grow these in my area?
- To find out if a plant will grow in you area you need to Google your hardiness zone and check that with hardiness zone for the plant. You can also look at the USDA or the Department of Agriculture in your area.