How to Grow Garlic in your Garden?
If you’d like to grow garlic, you’ll be happy to learn that it is very easy to do. A member of the allium family, garlic is related to onions, leeks, and shallots and is grown from individual cloves. It is used in many recipes to enhance flavor and is reputed to reduce high blood pressure, as well as provide other health benefits. Legend has it that a necklace of garlic will ward off vampires.
Garlic leaves grow above ground but the actual bulb of garlic remains under the soil while growing. It grows well in most climates during warm weather and can easily be grown in containers all year round. There are numerous garlic varieties, the most popular of which is commonly called “elephant garlic” because the bulb is several times larger than smaller varieties.
To grow garlic, you will need individual cloves of garlic — sections of the bulb. Each of the cloves will grow one garlic plant and develop one single bulb. Each bulb will contain multiple cloves, often as many as 15 to 20. If planting outdoors, select a location that gets lots of sun and the soil is well-drained.
Plant garlic cloves approximately one inch below the soil. Be sure to space the cloves about four inches apart to allow plenty of growing space. If you choose to plant rows of garlic, each row should be about 1-1/2 feet apart.
Traditionally, garlic is planted on the shortest day of the year which is the winter solstice. Planting later in the spring can produce bulbs that are smaller. There are lots of sources that recommend other times to plant garlic but many gardeners will tell you that the winter solstice is the best day to get your garlic growing well.
To determine when to harvest garlic, you simply wait for the leaves of the plant to turn brown and die. This indicates the bulbs are their maximum size but have not begun to split. Simply dig up the mature bulbs of garlic, discarding the top of the plant into your organic compost bin or your lawn debris.
After harvesting, garlic must dry to prevent rot. This process is as important as the process of growing garlic. Tie the bulbs together with string and hang them in a dry, cool location for about one week. Then the bulbs can be taken down and any dirt brushed off. Do not wash your dried garlic until you are ready to use it in a recipe.
Planting and Harvesting GarlicPlanting and Harvesting Garlic
Follow this step-by-step guide that takes you through the growing process from clove to the bulb.
For gardeners who enjoy eating the “stinking rose” as well as garlic scapes (flower buds), there’s nothing quite like planting your own cloves of garlic. Furthermore, some of us avid connoisseurs enjoy experimenting with purchasing different varieties of garlic and seeing which types do best in our hardiness zones, soil type, and microclimate growing conditions.
What varieties, you ask? We’ve discovered the best types for our sandy loam, well-composted soil are ‘Music’ and ‘Red Russian’. And yes, we always save the best, chubbiest bulbs we’ve grown for next year’s planting. It’s tough to do, but worthwhile!
Here are our 10 ten best tips for planting and harvesting garlic.
1. Cracking bulbs into clove
Several cloves cluster together to form the garlic bulb. Cloves must be “cracked” (separated) from the bulb because you plant individual cloves, not the entire bulb. Important: don’t remove each clove’s protective, papery casing. Leave it on and intact. Note: Each clove has a pointed tip and a “foot” (flattened, circular, hard root end). Plant the chubbiest, best cloves (no blemishes, no mildew) “foot down.”
2. Preparing the Bed for Planting
Weed the beds and level soil with a rake or a hoe. Use a bulb planter (readily available in nurseries and hardware stores) to make holes for each clove. You’ll be planting cloves 10 cm deep in sandy loam, about 15 to 20 cm apart.
3. Planting the ClovePlanting the Clove
Cloves must be “foot” down, tip (pointed part) up. Ensure tips are buried 5 cm or more below the soil surface so they don’t freeze. Plant in late October or early November so roots can establish themselves before the ground is frozen. (Timing may vary depending on your latitude/growing conditions.)
4. Mulch the bed before winterMulch the bed before winter
Mulch your garden bed to a depth of 4 to 10 cm using deciduous leaves or straw.
5. Watch for Garlic Shoots in Early SpringWatch for Garlic Shoots in Early Spring
The first shoots will appear in the spring. By this time, the mulch may be nicely composted down. Re-mulch with straw (never seedy hay) or leaves if you wish to reduce weeding.
6. Maintain a healthy garlic bed through late MayMaintain a healthy garlic bed through late May
Keep your bed weeded. Garlic doesn’t require much irrigation but it mustn’t dry out.
7. Scapes will Appear in Early JulyScapes will appear in early July
Yum! Scapes are the garlic’s stalk and flower bud. Gather them before they harden to steam or stir fry. Cutting scapes allows the root’s vigor to concentrate upon producing chubby garlic bulbs.
Want to gather and plant seeds? Leave the scape on; let the flower bud form seeds. The resulting garlic bulb won’t be harvestable, but seeds can be gathered when the plant is completely dried (end of August or so). Tip: Garlic grown from seed won’t produce decent-sized bulbs for eating for a few
8. Harvest garlic in late July or early AugustHarvest garlic in late July or early August
Harvest your garlic when a bottom couple of leaves and stalk are dry, brown and brittle. Loosen the earth and gently pull the bulbs
9. Harden off bulbs for a few hours in the sunHarden off bulbs for a few hours in the sun
Remove big clumps of soil gently, avoiding bruising the bulbs. Note: the bulb’s casing will be damp and is easily bruised. Take care!
10. Cure garlic by hangingCure garlic by hanging
Tie the garlic together and hang in a covered space with good air movement. Keep dry. After a couple of weeks, the casing will become papery. Use secateurs (pruning shears) to remove the stem roughly 4 cm above the top of the bulb, then trim off the roots. Store your garlic in paper bags in a cool, dry space.
How to Grow Garlic Indoors?
Growing garlic indoors is one of the best ways for beginners to learn some basic principles of indoor growing.
Garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow whether indoors or outdoors.
Information to getting Started Growing Garlic Indoors in your Home
Choosing & Planting the seeds
What you need to know about which seeds you should pick for the best crop.
Garlic plants usually grow from separate cloves of the bulb.
There are two main types of garlic: White and pink. White is usually a lot more easy to grow indoors and will usually grow faster.
Garlic will do well in almost any soil provided you allow enough depth for the roots to grow.
Plant cloves 3 inches apart or 3 inches away from any other plants and 2 inches deep.
Provide adequate drainage so that the roots do not get waterlogged.
Light & Temperature
How to provide the correct environment for your plants to ensure growth.
Garlic will tend to grow in almost any light. As long as you provide a window that gets plenty of light.
As with a lot of plants, the growth will only be improved by longer durations of bright light, but it is possible to bring plants to maturity by providing just a few hours of sunlight every day. This can also be supplemented with some fluorescent lighting as well.
Temperature is not a big factor for growing garlic, as the plants can survive in all but the coldest conditions
Watering techniques specifically for garlic.
Garlic is a plant that will thrive on being allowed to become dry and then given a good watering. When the plant is growing to be about 1ft high, then you should prolong the periods of time between watering the plant. Watering methods like this will make the bulb of the plant grow whilst slowing the growth of the stems.
Feeding & Nutrition
How to make sure that your plants get all the nutrients that they need in order to survive and produce harvests!
You should not need to feed your garlic plant at all.
How to collect your fruit safely and how to maximize crop growth for the future.
The garlic is ready when the stems of the plant have stopped growing altogether and they have dried out and wilt. Just pull the garlic gently from the soil. Leave it to dry in a cool spot that receives indirect sunlight then remove the roots and the stems before storing.
Growing garlic indoors is very easy as long as you follow these guidelines.
Tips to grow bigger garlic cloves
If you want, to grow bigger garlic cloves you need to do the following:
Be sure you are starting with the biggest cloves in the bulb only. Remember, in this case, the size DOES matter!
- Garlic loves the sun. So plant it in the sunny areas.
- Make sure the soil is well-drained. Otherwise, garlic will root.
- Fertilize it. Garlic loves manure. Some people say that chicken manure giver great results but I didn’t try it yet.
- Don’t forget to weed garlic.
- Remove scapes or garlic false seedheads. Otherwise, they will take energy and power from your garlic cloves. By the way, garlic seedheads are delicious when young! You can cook them in oil and enjoy their great taste!
Harvest garlic in the right time! The right time to harvest garlic is when the bottom three leaves are brown.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Grow Garlic in your Garden?
- 2 Planting and Harvesting Garlic
- 2.1 1. Cracking bulbs into clove
- 2.2 2. Preparing the Bed for Planting
- 2.3 3. Planting the Clove
- 2.4 4. Mulch the bed before winter
- 2.5 5. Watch for Garlic Shoots in Early Spring
- 2.6 6. Maintain a healthy garlic bed through late May
- 2.7 7. Scapes will Appear in Early July
- 2.8 8. Harvest garlic in late July or early August
- 2.9 9. Harden off bulbs for a few hours in the sun
- 2.10 10. Cure garlic by hanging
- 3 How to Grow Garlic Indoors?
- 4 Tips to grow bigger garlic cloves