How to Plant Garlic

How to Plant Garlic:

Garlic is one of the few crops that never fails me. I’ve grown it for several years and always end up with a great harvest. It’s a good thing, too, because we LOVE garlic. If you have a little patch of sunny garden, give it a try! Here’s how easy it is.

Prepare your soil. I chose a spot in the backyard between the garden boxes and the birdbath, pulled all the weeds, and mixed in a healthy pile of compost.
How to Plant Garlic:

Just like veggies, garlic needs to be spaced properly so it has room to grow. Papa made me this plantermajigger from a piece of scrap wood and some dowels.
How to Plant Garlic:

Just push into the soil and presto! Perfectly spaced planting holes, about three inches deep and three inches apart. If you don’t have a plantermajigger, poke holes in the soil with a pencil or stick.
How to Plant Garlic:

How to Plant Garlic:

Now it’s time to prep your seed garlic. I like the different varieties at Filaree Farm, but you can use organic garlic from the farmers’ market too. Don’t use the kind at the grocery store, because it’s usually sprayed with chemicals and stuff that keeps it from sprouting. This is Chesnok Red and Basque Turban.
How to Plant Garlic:

Take off the outside “paper” so you can see the individual cloves.
How to Plant Garlic:

Then pop the cloves off the base and get ready to plant. Note: don’t plant the tiniest cloves, like the one in the lower left corner. Tiny cloves make tiny crops! Save those for cooking.
How to Plant Garlic:

You’ll push one clove into each of the little holes you made. Be sure you’re planting them right side up, like this.
How to Plant Garlic:

There they are, all lined up and ready to grow. Spread soil over, pat down gently, and wait. I like to give them a drink of diluted kelp fertilizer to start ’em off right.
How to Plant Garlic:

After a week or so, you’ll see them sprouting (*cough* among the weeds *cough*).
How to Plant Garlic:

Now it’s time to do something that seems counterintuitive–we’re going to cover the entire area with straw.
How to Plant Garlic:

Why on earth would we do that? If you’ve ever had garlic sprout on your counter, you know it will grow under the toughest conditions. The straw insulates the ground, keeps the soil moist, and prevents the weeds from growing. The garlic will go right through the straw and the weeds won’t!

The garlic will grow all through the winter and spring and will be ready to harvest in June or July. Here’s to another great crop!

This wisdom and more available in Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers.

This article was shared on Clever Chicks, Make Your Own Monday, Your Great Idea, Small Footprint Friday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Unprocessed Fridays, Party Wave Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, The Thrifty Home, and Wildcrafting Wednesday.

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  1. says

    I don’t have a plantermajigger, but I do enjoy doing up my own garlic. I don’t even wait for it to pop up, I plant it and cover with a nice, thick layer of straw as soon as it’s in the ground. Definitely keeps the weeds suppressed and supposedly insulates the bulbs a bit as well.

  2. Brenda says

    How deep did you plant the cloves? Thanks! Love the plantermajigger….might have to talk the hubby into one of those! 😉

    • Leanne says

      That’s what I would like to know! What time of the year do you plant it? I live in Michigan. Plant in fall and harvest in summer?

      • Wes says

        In Michigan plant early to mid October and harvest mid July when the stalks start to turn a little gold. Stop watering first of July. Pull plants a gently knock off most soil. Place in low light area so tops dry. When tops dry cur off stalk. Clean rest of soil off but don’t fuss too much. Leave paper in tact. Store in mesh cloth or clean sock and hang in dark area with low humidity. Low humidity is very important. Under 60% is best and 40 is better. Higher humidity causes it to sprout… you don’t want that. Enjoy. If you can make it to the Howell Farm Market there is a guy selling hard neck that I grow. Great crop! He is from Pinckney.

      • Annaliese says

        I grow garlic indoors during the winter under a grow light with several other veggies, it’s never failed me to produce an awesome crop every year.

    • Pam says

      I tried growing garlic in containers a few years ago and they just didn’t grow well. Since I have the space to plant them in the ground, I’m saving the garden boxes for other winter crops.

  3. Nicki says

    How long would your crop last after you harvest it? How long does it remain fresh and edible? Do you harvest them all at once, or just as you are using them? Also, how do you recognize that it’s ready to harvest? Thanks!

  4. Kay says

    i remember grandma growing winter onions but dont remember how she did it. do I plant my onion bulbs the same as garlic or do I have to get winter onion variety?

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