Growing Garlic

If you love garlic, you'll love what growing it at home can do for its flavor. Here, tips for how to grow it.


By: Marie Hofer

Similar Topics:
  1. Herbs
  2. Plants

If you love garlic, you'll love what growing it at home can do for its flavor. Not only can you harvest it fresh, but you can try out lots of different varieties that aren't available to you in the grocery store. There are hundreds of varieties, each varying in color, spiciness and usefulness in methods of cooking.

The success of your crop depends in large part on when you plant. Fall is the best time, aiming for a planting window that's early enough to achieve good root development before the ground freezes and not so early that you have significant top growth. Usually that means planting garlic about the same time as spring-flowering bulbs. In Minnesota, that might mean mid to late September; November or even early December is usually the best time in the coastal regions of Virginia. To be certain about the right time in your area, check with your local extension office or trusted garden center.

Besides the timing, a few other factors are essential in getting a good crop of garlic:

  • Buy the bulbs at a garden center or via mail-order catalog. The bulbs at grocery stores may be treated to prevent sprouting or retard growth.
  • gby909_1d_garlic


    Hard-neck varieties of garlic do well in colder climates. Soft-neck types work best for warmer areas.

  • Separate the bulbs into cloves the same day you're going to plant them. If you wait longer than a day, the cloves will dry out.
  • Choose a site that has excellent drainage and receives full sun. Till or spade the soil six to 10 inches deep. If the location offers rich sandy loam, great! If not, amend the soil with liberal quantities of organic matter. You want the soil to be loose and very workable.
  • Dig a trench two to four inches deep if you live in the North, about an inch deep if you live in the South. It's helpful to line the bottom of the trench with bulb food. Garlic is a heavy feeder.
  • Space four to six inches apart and position the pointed tips up. If you're planting elephant garlic, space the cloves six to eight inches apart.
  • Cover with soil so that the tips are about two inches below the soil surface, and water well.
  • Provide a generous layer of mulch for the winter, especially if you live in a colder climate.
  • When spring arrives, be sure to keep the garlic bed well weeded.
  • Harvest in early to mid summer, and enjoy!


  • Next Up

    How to Grow Lemon Grass

    Keep a pot of this easy-to-grow herb on a sunny windowsill, then harvest it fresh for Thai dishes or delicious teas.

    10 Tips for Growing Lavender

    Texas farmer Debbie McDowell shares her expert advice on growing fragrant, flowering lavender in your garden.

    How to Grow Fresh Basil

    Planting aromatic basil from seed is the best way to go.

    Growing Herbs

    Plants can be expensive and identical cultivars difficult to source, but increasing your own stock or growing new varieties is not difficult and is very rewarding in exchange for a small amount of financial outlay.

    Growing Herbs From Seed

    Get tips on how to easily and inexpensively grow herbs from seed.

    Growing Apples

    Growing apples takes commitment that keeps the fire in the American love affair with the fruit.

    Growing Lavender Indoors

    Discover some tips and tricks to growing lavender indoors.

    Growing Fruit Trees Indoors

    Growing dwarf fruit trees indoors can add a lively touch of freshness to your indoor setting.

    Guide to Growing Garlic

    Garlic is versatile and known for spicing up a wealth of recipes, making it a must-have crop in any vegetable garden.

    Growing Herbs From Cuttings

    Many plants do not produce viable seed or, if they do, it is so fiddly or slow to grow that it is easier and quicker to take cuttings from your favorite plant. Always keep your new cuttings moist and in a warm, sunny place.

    1,000+ Photos

    Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

    On TV

    Rescue My Renovation

    6:30am | 5:30c

    Selling LA

    7am | 6c

    House Hunters

    7:30am | 6:30c

    House Hunters

    8:30am | 7:30c

    House Hunters

    9:30am | 8:30c

    House Hunters

    10am | 9c

    House Hunters

    10:30am | 9:30c

    House Hunters

    11am | 10c

    House Hunters

    11:30am | 10:30c

    House Hunters

    12pm | 11c

    Fixer Upper

    1pm | 12c

    Fixer Upper

    2pm | 1c

    Fixer Upper

    3pm | 2c

    Fixer Upper

    4pm | 3c

    Fixer Upper

    5pm | 4c

    Fixer Upper

    6pm | 5c

    Fixer Upper

    7pm | 6c

    Fixer Upper

    8pm | 7c

    Fixer Upper

    9pm | 8c

    Good Bones

    10pm | 9c

    Fixer Upper

    11pm | 10c

    Fixer Upper

    12am | 11c

    Good Bones

    1am | 12c

    Fixer Upper

    2am | 1c

    Fixer Upper

    3am | 2c

    Follow Us Everywhere

    Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.