How to Plant Garlic

Learning how to plant garlic is easy and garlic makes a great addition to the herb or vegetable garden. Native to central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in existence. Garlic is hardy and will grow in most conditions, but you'll get better results with proper care.

How To Plant Garlic Successfully

Variety: Garlic Allium sativum
Zones: 3 to 9
Soil Type: Average soil that is loose and well drained
Soil pH: 6.3 to 6.8
Sunlight: Full sun
Availability: Sold as bulbs or nursery grown plants. Grocery store bulbs may have been sprayed with a growth inhibitor and will not root reliably. When buying plants, look for firm, deep green leaves. Avoid wilted or yellowed foliage.
When to plant: Garlic should be planted in early fall in northern and middle zones, and late winter in southern zones.
Planting Method: Garlic bulbs are divided into separate cloves. Within 24 hours of planting, carefully remove the out covering of the garlic bulb and separate the individual cloves. Use the smallest cloves for cooking and reserve the largest for planting. In well-tilled soil amended with organic material, dig 2" deep holes 4" to 6" apart. Place a single bulb into each hole with the pointed end up. Backfill the planting holes and water to firm the soil.
Watering: Garlic plants require average to light watering. Avoid damp conditions as this can lead to fungal issues.
Fertilization: Garlic plants are not heavy feeders, but will respond to one or two feedings of a balanced liquid fertilizer. Too much fertilizer will promote foliage growth at the expense of bulb growth.
Harvesting: Garlic is typically harvested in mid summer. The best way to tell if your garlic is ready to harvest is to watch the leaves. When the lower/outer leaves turn brown, it's time to harvest. To gather garlic, use a hand shovel to loosen the dirt around the plant and gently remove the bulb with the leaves attached. Garlic must be cured before storage. To cure your garlic, hang it by the leaves in a cool dry place for two weeks. When the leaves become dry and no longer smell, your garlic is ready to store. Cut away the leaves and roots and store your garlic bulbs in a cool dry location.
Root Rot: Plant will yellow and wither from this condition. Root rot is caused by over watering or poor drainage. Make sure plants are placed in well-drained soil and understand the watering needs of specific plants.
Pests: Garlic has very few pest problems as the plant naturally repels most insects.
Saving Seeds: Garlic is most often propagated by bulbs. Properly cured and stored bulbs can be planted the following year in the normal growth cycle.

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