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  • Writer's pictureStronger Roots

Growing Garlic

Updated: May 10, 2022


-“Most of its health benefits are caused by Sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed”

-Contains Allicin, a powerful antioxidant

-Contains vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese

-Compounds within reduce the severity of common illnesses; Improves Immunity

-Helps lower blood pressure


-Nutrient-rich (add amendments/compost to site if necessary), well-drained soil

❗️ Garlic bulbs may become misshapen in dense, heavy soils

-Planting in the fall usually yields more harvest (between September and November)

-Planting should be done at least two weeks before the first frost of the season, and before the ground freezes; protect the garlic by applying mulch 4-6” layer

❗️Garlic roots develop during the fall and winter, before the ground freezes, and by early spring they start producing foliage. Then, you’ll harvest in the summer

❗️ When planting make sure to mulch whatever time of year you plant and to protect against cold snaps in the Spring and keep newly planted garlic bulbs from drying out

-Plant large cloves to produce the largest bulbs. Plant smaller cloves at closer spacings or in patches for harvest as garlic greens

-Break bulbs apart when going to plant, keeping thin husks on the cloves.

-Plant with tips up, 2-4” deep and 4 to 6” apart

❗️Use deeper planting if rain or frost may expose the cloves, and shallower planting if using mulch or planting into heavy soil

- Space Rows 15 to 24” apart.

-For elephant varieties, Plant elephant about 3” deep and 8 to 12”

❗️ Do not plant where other onion family crops have been grown in the past 3 years


-Full Sun: 6 to 8Hrs.

-Cold period of at least 40˚F (optimal) for about 4 to 8 weeks.

-pH 6.2-6.8 (slightly acidic) ❗️Tolerates wide range

-Prefers cool weather when developing foliage, and warm weather when bulbs enlarge

-Raised Beds: Should be 2 to 3 feet wide and at least 10 to 12 inches tall.

-For larger bulbs, remove woody flower stalks (scapes) as they appear. ❗️These may decrease bulb size

-Keep area weeded (competition in ground can lead to issues such as size)

-HEAVY FEEDER make sure to side dress with amendments such as chicken manure or blood meal - or liquid fertilizers with decent levels of Nitrogen

-Best to water deep, but infrequently

❗️ Too little water can stress plants, and too much water can cause bulb rot



Softneck varieties: The necks stay soft at harvest time; usually braided. Produces large cloves around the outside, and smaller cloves in the middle. Strong flavor. Stores well.

(California White)


Stiffneck varieties: A single ring of cloves surrounds a stiff central stem that curls as it grows. Most cold-hardy of the garlics but doesn’t store well.




Elephant varieties: Milder flavor, intermediate between garlic and onions. Larger bulb with fewer larger cloves (usually about four). More closely related to leeks than to A. sativum garlics, and not as hardy.


-Harvest when lower leaves turn brown.

-Lift the entire plant from the ground and shake loose the soil as much as possible.

-Allow plants to dry in a shaded, dry place for about a week to two to cure.

-You can also harvest just the green scapes of hardneck garlic varieties. Harvest when the scape begin to curl


-To avoid sprouting, place your whole bulb of garlic in a dry place away from moisture and humidity

-The bulbs are cured (dried) and ready to store when the wrappers are dry and paper like and the roots are dry. The root crown should be hard; cure by hanging from stalks to dry

-Bulbs should be stored in a cool (40°F) dark, dry place, and can be kept this way for several months; can be stored in temperatures between 40 - 65F

-Store your garlic bulbs in a well-ventilated spot allowing it to "breathe". This will extend the shelf-life

-You can peel individual garlic cloves and completely submerge them in oil in a glass jar or plastic container. Tightly seal the jar or container with a lid and place directly into the freeze

-The flavor will increase as the bulbs are dried.

-Properly stored, garlic should last until the next crop is harvested the following summer

-Save largest bulbs for planting next year


-White Rot is a fungus that may attack garlic in cool weather - be sure to rotate onion like crops and not plant the same family in an area for 3 years


-When in the ground, the bulb is where nutrients are stored for survival during drought or other stressful weather

-Garlic is a perennial member of the onion family, Alliaceae, and is closely related to leeks, onions, shallots, and chives

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