Why Grow Garlic
Garlic was originally a native plant of many thousands of years
ago. Evidence of it has been found in caves inhabited more than
10,000 years ago.
Hardy perennial of onion family
Site and Soil
Well-drained, well-dug fertile soil; full sun
Plant to Harvest Time
Medicinal prescriptions were found chiseled into a clay Sumerian
tablet that was more than 3,000 years old. Garlic is a key
ingredient to a wide variety of recipes, and is quickly becoming
regarded as a natural method to prevent heart disease and cancer
- it is after all the second oldest medicine in the world.
Growing garlic is well-suited to both the first time gardener and the more
experienced - given the correct soil and planting time, common
garlic is relatively maintenance free, yet some of the more
unusual varieties provide a challenge.
Where To Grow Garlic
Grow your garlic in full sun - garlic needs to grow quickly in
order to produce good sized bulbs. Pick a site that is not prone to
water-logging, this will ensure the bulbs do not rot over winter.
Garlic can be planted in raised beds and they will grow
to go to our page on raised beds.
The secret to growing garlic is to plant it in mid October -
spring planting is possible in warmer areas, but even then, better sized
bulbs will result from an autumn sowing. Dig the soil well to a spade's
depth before planting, incorporating as much organic matter as possible
to assist with drainage - garlic will rot in water-logged conditions. If
you can purchase and dig in some sand (from your garden centre) at this
stage, the drainage will be improved even further. A couple of handfuls
of bonemeal should also be incorporated every square metre (yard).
Garlic bulbs for planting in Spring need not be bought from a nursery - simply choose the
largest ones possible from your greengrocer or supermarket. If planting
in mid October, choose a hardier variety such as 'White Pearl', these need
to bought from your local garden centre. Each bulb
will consist of up to 20 individual cloves, and it is these cloves which
are to be individually planted. Gently remove the outer skin from the
bulb (not the cloves) and separate into individual cloves - see the
picture on the left. On the right is a garlic clove and on the left is
the bulb. Select the largest eight or so of the cloves which will
be on the outside of the bulb.
Plant each of the cloves in an upright position 2cm (1in) below the soil surface.
Looking at the clove in the picture to the right, the bottom
blunt end of the clove
should be lowest in the ground with the pointed end just below the soil
Space each clove about 10cm (4in) apart. If you are planting rows, space each row 45cm (18in) apart.
Care of Garlic
Garlic thrives on a well fed soil at the correct time, so in late March and again in mid May, feed the soil with general purpose
fertiliser such as Growmore. If you can do this once or twice a month,
so much the better. Apart from this, their only other requirement is to
keep them free of weeds and in dry conditions water them. They will
produce green foliage starting around April time.
Click picture of foliage on Garlic 'Supreme' to enlarge it.
Garlic is normally ready for harvesting when most of the foliage has
turned yellowy-brown - this will be around mid August time. The problem
with harvesting garlic is knowing when they are ripe - harvest too early
and the bulbs will be small, harvest too late and the bulb will have
split making harvest difficult and the cloves of low quality (they will
have commenced their growing cycle for next year).
will occur mainly in wet summers - the leaves may only have started to
turn yellow but if the garlic is left in wet ground at this stage, the
bulbs will very quickly become diseased. For this reason a second method
is needed to determine what stage they have reached. If the weather is
wet in early August, pull up one bulb and see how many sheaths (very
thin papery layers around the bulb) you can peel off the bulb - if there
are only three, harvest the bulbs, if there are four or more, wait
another two weeks or until most of the leaves have turned brown.
harvesting garlic bulbs, gently ease them out of the ground with the
assistance of using a trowel to loosen the surrounding soil - be careful
not to bruise them with the trowel because they will then not keep for long.
Gardening Advice Center
Share with us your gardening experience!
Date posted: December 26, 2011 - 05:47 am
Message: The garlic should be OK. They're just like bulbs emerging.
Date posted: December 25, 2011 - 08:29 pm
Message: I planted garlic this fall in Northern Virginia. the weather has been milder than usual and there are now green shoots. WIll the garlic die this winter or is it okay?
Name: mukhtar abdulkadir
Date posted: December 14, 2011 - 09:00 pm
Message: i read your article on garlic i said thank for your advise.
Date posted: November 15, 2011 - 05:52 pm
Message: They'll be fine. Leave them over winter, not much will be going on until spring.
Name: gordon murray
Date posted: November 15, 2011 - 06:59 am
Message: Hello. I live in London england. I planted garlic about 3 weeks ago i.e the last week in october and it has already sprouted with plant about 3 inches high. can you advise what to do now. I assume if they have sprouted now they will not grow in spring next year
Name: Tongai Zimbiti
Date posted: November 14, 2011 - 08:05 am
Message: Hi There,
I am looking at planting some garlic and was wondering which time of the year would be ideal for this. I am in Zimbabwe, that is Southern African Region. Summer starts in September. Rains start failing in November through to February/March. Is this time, the right time.
Date posted: October 29, 2011 - 02:28 pm
Message: Try Georgian Fire
Date posted: October 29, 2011 - 01:12 pm
Message: Can you tell me the name of the strongest
garlic bulbs available. Thanks
Date posted: October 23, 2011 - 11:54 pm
Message: Hello Sue
Garlic is normally planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest. If the soil is frozen, plant in spring. Yours may need protection, cover with straw, frost cloth, etc.
Date posted: October 23, 2011 - 08:48 am
Message: Hi, I live in Central Switzerland and planted my garlic 3rd week of September. The shoots are now ca. 4 inches tall. Have covered my raised bed with thick perspex panels. Is this sufficient for winter with snow and minus degrees? Look forward to your reply and best wishes.
Date posted: October 17, 2011 - 03:21 am
Message: hi sir i am from kodaikanal i want to konow what type of fertilizer we have to give for garlic to get a big clove & wat type of varity is suitable for hills .
Date posted: September 26, 2011 - 06:36 am
Message: I planted bulbs in May/June, they have now lost all their leaves. Should I dig them up or leave until next year?
Name: Bou Nicodemus A
Date posted: September 09, 2011 - 04:37 pm
Message: Pls can you help me to know how to plant garlic in my area.My area is hot and we only have cold from nov.-feb. which time is good for garlic to plant?. or can garlic be good during hot season?
waiting to hear from U
Name: K Juten
Date posted: June 08, 2011 - 10:19 pm
Message: Most of my garlic grown over the winter here in CA was ready for harvest this week. However, about a third of the garlic have not formed bulbs and are sprouting a new bunch of green leaves. Each clove underground seems to be putting out new leaves. Did I miss the harvest for these bulbs? What if I leave them in the ground? What will happen?
Date posted: June 01, 2011 - 09:21 pm
Message: If I planted cloves in April, in a warm climate, when should they be ready to harvest?
Name: Ray Gillett
Date posted: May 25, 2011 - 10:27 pm
Message: I cut of the flower bulb last year from a garlic plant. I let it dry until last month. I planted 3 or 4 in a pot, and now they have sproted. Will I get a good quality garlic from these? What would be the best time to get them started?
Name: D. Wright
Date posted: May 23, 2011 - 04:52 pm
Message: I read somewhere that you should gently uncover the bulbs around the surface once they are big enough while they are ripening. Is the right? I planted mine in November and they are already quite big. The leaves are now going yellow. It's been hot so will they be ready early?
Date posted: May 16, 2011 - 02:34 pm
Message: Like many aspects of gardening, growing garlic from seed seems to be a well gaurded secret but with a little perseverance you can find snippets of information from various sources. In reply to growing from bulbils it seems that this is the best method for disease free bulbs because if you continually use cloves from the same original bulb, year after year, health problems can occur. Of course if you can get 70 bulbils from one plant that's got to be cheaper than buying 3 or 4 bulbs from the supermarket.
Name: RUUVILIE KOTSU
Date posted: May 06, 2011 - 04:13 am
Message: please send me best practices of vegetables and spices cultivation.
the best time to sow, qty of seed required and best practices of Garlic cultivation
Name: Daniel Owen
Date posted: May 04, 2011 - 11:49 am
Message: I find that Garlic will even grow in between other plant no problem!
absolutely best garlic is fresh from the ground (known as wet garlic). This garlic is sweeter, less pungent and far more digestible than dried
garlic. So make sure you use some cloves as soon as possible. The
majority though should be be washed and dried and then placed in a warm
dry place in the garden (bring indoors if rain threatens) to dry out -
these bulbs should keep in good condition for 3 months or more.
PLANT GARLIC IN POTS AND CONTAINERS