Planting Garlic: Step-by-Step

October 19, 2009 at 3:31 am 3 comments

music_garlic_introIt’s getting downright frigid here, and garlic planting time has snuck up on me. But this weekend, I planted Music, German White, Georgian Fire , and Bogatyr Garlic–123 cloves total–in my front yard garden. Above is a picture of some of the Music, on a fabulous Sara Smedley textile. Of all the vegetables I grow, garlic is one of my favorites. Plus it provides garlic greens and scapes for months before you actually harvest it.

When to Plant: The general rule is to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year, and then harvest on the longest day. Columbus Day is ideal for Zone 6.  Garlic is a long season crop, taking 6 to 8 months to mature, so it’s best to plant it in the fall so it has time to establish.

Planting garlic is so easy, and you don’t need a lot of room. Here’s how to plant it in 6 steps:

1. Choose a sunny spotpickasunnyspot

Garlic likes full sun, but will also grow in part shade. Turnover your soil and add some compost to get the ground ready for planting.

2. Get a Digger. This is the tool you use to plant bulbs. It makes it really easy for planting garlic cloves. If you don’t have one, you can use a small trowel instead. (But the digger is so much more fun).


3. Break apart your cloves. Each clove of garlic will magically grow into a full head. I know, amazing, right? breaking_apart_clovesJust break the garlic head up and get your cloves ready.

4. Make a bunch of holes in the ground. Since I don’t have a lot of space, I plant my garlic pretty close together. The standard is to plant it about 8 inches apart, and make the hole depth twice the size of the garlic cloves you are planting. I love planting garlic as a border for my garden, and it helps to deter pests (and prevent munching critters).


5. Place cloves in the ground. Make sure to put the pointy part up, since this is where the green shoot will come up.

putgarlicinthehole6. Then, cover up the hole with dirt, and you’re done. Before winter hits, apply a straw mulch to protect the garlic. Snow will fall, wind will blow, the ground will become frozen solid, but garlic toughs it out, and starts growing again in early spring, and will be ready for harvest around the fourth of July.

Getting garlic: Want to plant garlic but didn’t order in time?  Try going to your local farmers market and either buy a few heads or ask if they’ll sell you some planting stock. Look for larger cloves, and whatever you do, avoid that poor supermarket garlic (it’s been treated with all sorts of anti-sprouting stuff).


Here is the beautiful organic Georgian Fire Garlic I ordered from Peaceful Valley this year.

So, get planting, as long as it’s in before the ground freezes, you’re good to go!


Entry filed under: garlic, growing, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. fartygirl  |  October 20, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Great tutorial! I wish I had my own place so I could plant some. I will definitely come back to this. Thanks!

    And cutest picture ever. 🙂

  • 2. Sara Smedley  |  October 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Yum, I got to get my digger out! Thanks for using my napkin!

  • 3. Karen Stanford  |  October 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    How nerdy am I? I planted all mine up-side down and had to go back and fix them. bah!!

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