All About Growing Garlic

Here is a concise primer on growing garlic that covers varieties, how and when to plant, pest prevention, and harvesting and storage.

| October/November 2009

  • Growing garlic
    Your reward for growing garlic is the world of flavors that await in every bulb! Garlic’s taste has several dimensions that come alive depending on how the plant is cooked. Shown here, from left to right, are braided softneck garlic, fresh elephant garlic, and purple stripe hardneck garlic.
    ILLUSTRATION: KEITH WARD
  • Garlic bulb
    Wait until just before planting to break your garlic bulbs into cloves. One pound of cured bulbs will split into about 50 individual cloves, which is enough to plant a 25-foot-long double row.
    KEITH WARD

  • Growing garlic
  • Garlic bulb

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

The last crop to go into the garden, garlic is planted in fall and harvested the following summer. Flavorful, nutritious, and helpful for warding off vampires, garlic also is easy to grow as long as you plant varieties suited to your climate. Fertile, well-drained soils with a near-neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.0 are best for growing garlic.

Garlic Types to Try

Softneck types grow best where winters are mild, though some tolerate cold to Zone 5. Most varieties do not produce scapes (edible curled flower stalks), but softnecks are great for braiding. Subtypes include Creole, artichoke and many Asian varieties.

Hardneck types adapt to cold winter climates, and all produce delicious curled scapes in early summer. Popular subtypes include porcelain, purple stripe and rocambole varieties.



Elephant garlic produces a large, mild-flavored bulb comprised of four to six big cloves. Closely related to leeks, elephant garlic is hardy to Zone 5 if given deep winter mulch.

Check out our Chart of Garlic Types, which includes descriptions, growing tips, and great varieties to try. 

robert
8/5/2017 2:36:04 PM

We started gardening and we were gone wrong. We could not figure out why we were not getting the beautiful vegetables we were hoping for. People suggest to spray chemicals for vegetables and fruits but is poison and it is not organic vegetables. My lab professor referred a guide it helps me to grow my gardening as what we like, you can get the guide from here >> ( http://go2l.ink/plants ) <<. I have recommended this system to all of my friends and family. We got good organic natural vegetables and fruits in the next harvest, one of the beautiful products in the market....*


psr
7/28/2017 11:44:03 AM

just harvested some garlic; and attached to the heads are garbanzo looking what i think are seeds, but what are they? Phil psr@tm.net


jackiefrey
7/14/2017 3:43:07 PM

Is it time to harvest the soft neck variety when the stalks wither and turn brown?






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