Time to Plant Garlic


Here’s HerbDoc with yet another timely (and tasty) post:

Garlic grows in zones 5-10 and prefers full sun although it will grow in partial shade.  Soil should be humusy, deep and well drained with a pH suitable for vegetables.  I always buy my bulbs from a grower as the supermarket bulbs tend to produce poor results.

Growers will offer two types of bulbs for sale:  softneck garlic (Allium sativum var. sativum) and hardneck garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon).  Softneck garlic is easier to grow, keeps longer than hardneck garlic, and is recognized by its white papery skin and a large number of cloves in layers around a central core.  It also has a flexible stalk which allows it to be braided.  Hardneck garlic has a coiling scape.  They have fewer, larger cloves and less outer skin which reduces their shelf life.

Gently separate the individual cloves from the bulb immediately before planting.  Plant, root down, in October for harvesting the following summer.  Cloves should be planted 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart.  Keep the area well weeded and mulch with 3-4 inches of shredded leaves or straw after the ground freezes.  This will prevent them from heaving out of the ground during winter thaws.  In the spring, side dress with compost (never fresh manure).


Each clove will grow to a height of 2 feet with foliage that resembles that of an onion.  They will bloom in early summer with small white to pink blooms atop a tall, central stalk.  I always remove the flower stalks in early summer; this produces larger bulbs.  When the tops die down, dig the bulbs promptly before the bulb skins begin to decay.  Leave them in a single layer in a shady spot to dry; then cut away the tops leaving 2 inches of stem or braid together the tops of freshly dug plants.  Hang the braids or loose bulbs in nets from the ceiling in a cool, humid, dark place.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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1 Response to Time to Plant Garlic

  1. Elderberry says:

    Outstanding advice…and timely too! Thanks.


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