Grow Your Own Garlic

I don’t know about you, but I love to cook Italian food.  As a result, I always have a head of garlic sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter.

Last year, I decided to grow garlic in my vegetable garden.  I had heard how easy it was to grow and I was eager to plant some in my vegetable garden.

How about you?  Wouldn’t you like to grow your own garlic?

Garlic cloves from garlic that I harvested this spring.

All you need is a garden with enriched soil, a yardstick, a spoon and a head of garlic – that’s it.  The best time to plant garlic is in mid-fall.

Are you ready?  Let’s get started…..

It is easiest to plant garlic from individual cloves.  Just stop by your local grocery store and pick up a few heads of garlic and separate out the individual cloves (you don’t have to take off the papery skins).

Use a yardstick to help you space your garlic out.

Garlic like enriched soil, so be sure to amend your soil with a mixture of compost and aged manure.

Yardsticks aren’t just useful for sewing – they are also a great tool in the garden for spacing out seeds and plants.  Place your garlic cloves out approximately 6 inches apart.

Place each garlic clove into a 2″ deep hole with the pointed end pointing upward.  I like to use an old tablespoon for digging small holes, which makes making holes for garlic cloves, very easy.  Cover with soil and water regularly, taking care to not let the soil become soaked (garlic don’t like ‘wet’ soil).

In cold climates, add a straw mulch to your newly planted garlic bed.  Your garlic will soon send up green shoots.  The green shoots will die to the ground in Northern climates, but once spring arrives, the shoots will grow back (in Southern climates, your shoots will stay green through the winter).

Mature Garlic

Before you know it, spring will have arrived and your garlic will be sending up tall shoots.  Once the outer shoots begin to brown and droop (the middle shoots will still be green), it is time to harvest your garlic.

Freshly harvested garlic

Carefully pull them out, so that they aren’t damaged.  Brush off any large clumps of dirt, but then leave the garlic heads alone (it isn’t good to overly ‘clean’ them since it can bruise the cloves).  Leave the leaves attached and let the garlic dry in a warm and dry area that is out of the sun.  After a few weeks, you can remove the leaves and cut back the roots.

Store the garlic heads in a dry area out of the sun where they will keep for months.  Now all there is left to do is find the ‘perfect’ recipe to use your homegrown garlic in.

Have you ever grown garlic?  Do you have any favorite recipes that you use garlic in?

Learn more about growing garlic in this Birds & Blooms article.

  1. Patricia says

    I never tried growing my own garlic before. I LOVE adding it to so many recipes that I am going to give it a shot this year!!
    Wish me luck!!

  2. laurentius says

    I could not wait until mid-fall as suggested, so planted a bunch of garlics yesterday! If this really works, it will be wonderful, as we use a LOT of garlic, and in the summertime also use it to make pesto.

  3. says

    you actually should not grow garlic purchased from the grocery store. it’s treated with antisprouting chemicals and might not be adapted to your area. i purchase mine from a garden center.

  4. tom larson says

    hey i just got done planting my garlic on 10/3/11 it was very easy to do , it only took me about one hour ,that was too rototill my garden and to build a box for my garlic .I should have some nice garlic to eat this comeing spring , or at least by fall anyway,s thank you for the tip on planting it , Tom Larson Rhinelander,wi

  5. Brenda says

    Am anxious to try growing garlic, but to harvest the green stems. A friend cuts the stems and sautes them in olive oil. Best thing I’ve ever eaten.

    • JenGen says

      Garlic scapes in the summer are fantastic, I agree. A plant that rewards you twice in a growing season, winner!

  6. helen hardin says

    I used to fuss at my father because he would slip a few garlic heads into my flower bed and i would’n know till spring would roll around!needless to say, i was most happy to have all the garlic i could use, now my daddy has passed away and i fondly remember those days long passed.Still today a few green leaves would peek up in my flower bed and they bring back such good memories!

  7. trudy says

    Years ago I knew a lady that was convinced that if you planted garlic around the outskirts of your yard you would never have snakes in your yard. she said if you found one he would be in a comatose state if he was anywhere near your garlic.

    • says

      My grandmother told me the very same thing about garlic repelling snakes, and come to think of it, I havent seen a snake around my laace in years. I suppose it works, huh?

  8. says

    Yes, I’ve grown garlic for years. I’ve only planted it once, but my garlic plants spreads like strawberries, it has taken over a small area in my garden, and would spread further if I let it go. I love and enjoy it in spicing up foods like spaghetti, dried beans, meatloaves, hamburgers, pork roasts, briskets and on and on, it’s use is never ending. It’s healthy and I eat enough garlic that mesquetos and other insets are not a bother to me. It’s the best repellent a person can use, and a lot less costly. My grandmother, a Choctaw indian taught me that many years ago. I, nor any of my family have ever had any problems with insect bites because of garlic use. Try it. It works wonders.

  9. Berndawg Sroka says

    Yeah, I grew my garlic for the first time this past year. Planted in mid-fall but I planted about 48 cloves and planted too close together for the space I had them in. I planted in a raised bed about 2 ft. x 4 ft. So this fall I will plant only about 20 cloves and spread them out more. My bulbs were very small and stunted but still had good flavor. so don’t get greedy and overcrowd them. Give them some elbow room!

  10. JJ says

    I use garlic in almost every savory dish or bread that I cook. The most amazing thing use I have found for garlic is:
    Crush two cloves and mince fine, add about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to a mashed avacado with a little
    French onion dip and mix well. I eat this with tortilla chips. I have had an inflammed shoulder for 3 years. I read where
    this concoction would help with the inflammation. I had gone to doctors, taken pills, physical therapy and have done
    various exercises. I couldn’t even lift my arm high enough to put my dishes into the cabinet. Within 24 hours after eating this my pain was completely vanished. I made this and ate it one more day. I didn’t go beyond that period because it can be rather harsh on the stomach. (Be careful because some people are allergic to the cayenne!) It has now been three years and
    I still have not had that pain return. Thank God for little miracles! Cheap pain relief but very effective for me.
    Even X-rays couldn’t determine why it was so painful. I am not pain free!

  11. jane portier says

    my husband buys our garlic thru a garden ctr,not grocery store.he has ben growing garlic for 2 seasons now & has had a very good luck.the best garlic we like is the elephant garlic bigger & easier to clean.happy growing!

  12. Carolpiano says

    I grew garlic cloves right next to roses – the garlic did fine and it was supposed to ‘defy’ the bugs – It did!

  13. jeanetta says

    Really ? All that work ? I harvest wheel barrel loads and give a lot away. They are a pleasure in the Flower Garden as well as in the Vegetable Garden. The first up in the spring. Eat the blossoms in a salad or just off the stalk. They look funky all season. i do not plant any seeds. Just let a few dozen blossoms go to seed. When they are fully ripe. Just take the tops off and scatter the seeds. No need to plant. Cut the stems and use to make Garlic spray for the garden . Blend until very fine with a bit of water, put in ice cube trays and use in soups , stews or whatever.

    You may pull the garglic out whenever you wish. I leave some in the ground . Just cut off the stem when it dries out . The longer they are in the ground the larger they will get. Leave for a year or two or three . They will not rot and just get better with age. Happy Gardening

  14. Sharon says

    I have grown elephant garlic for more than 20 years. Living on Texas’ Gulf Coast, I plant in September. When the flower stalk appears the following May or June, I break it off so strength will go to the bulb and not to making seeds. When the leaves turn yellow, I dig the plant up, knock off dirt and let it dry until the leaves are brown and crisp. Then I eat some being sure to save the biggest cloves to replant for the next year.

  15. anita says

    oops, I planted garlic that I had bought from Lowes,but it didnt mention on the directions to separate it into cloves so I planted the whole bulb last spring,I think there were 4 bulbs….Now what do I do??? I did notice that it came up quickly & then died down so I just left it in the ground. Is that Ok?

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