- Exposure: Full sun
- When to plant: Mid-autumn
- Pests and diseases to watch out for: Nematodes, rust
How to Plant Garlic
Gently pull apart cloves, planting each one pointy-side up about two inches deep and six inches apart. Choose , not those that are squishy or have been sitting around on your kitchen counter too long (, garlic from the grocery store is often treated not to sprout, so it might not grow). Each clove will yield one head when it’s time to harvest the following summer.
- Softneck (consists of many small cloves, stores longer): New York White
- Hardneck or stiffneck (easier to peel, can eat the stems, called “scapes”): Russian Red, German Extra Hardy
How to Care for Garlic
Feed in the spring by top-dressing the planting bed with compost once the garlic has emerged (usually in late winter). Add ¼ cup of balanced fertilizer per two plants. Garlic doesn’t like competition, so weed regularly so your bulbs can grow to good size. Garlic tends to like somewhat dry soil in summer.
Can you plant garlic in the spring?
Sure, though it’s not going to form heads but instead will be eaten as “green garlic.” Trim off and eat the green shoots, like you would a scallion, when they reach 10 inches tall or so.
How do you grow garlic in pots?
Use a container that’s at least 12 inches deep, allowing about a gallon of soil per plant. Heads will be smaller than when grown in ground.
How do you grow garlic scapes?
Foodies love garlic scapes, the buds of hardneck garlic varieties; softneck varieties do not produce scapes. As the stem grows, it curls into a circle and ends with a pointed seedpod. Cut off these stems, and roast or sauté for delicate garlic flavor in dishes.
How do you know when it’s time to harvest?
Wait until about half the leaves have turned yellow or brown, then push a hand trowel into the soil next to the plant. Loosen the soil and lift up the whole plant. Don’t just yank it up and rip the stem off. Leave roots and stems on, and let it sit in the sun to cure for up to a few weeks on the garden bed or lawn (cover if it’s going to rain). You want to reduce the moisture content so it stores longer.
“Garlic is easy to grow and not needy like some other vegetables. Follow the tips, and you’ll get a decent harvest,” says Colin McCrate, founder of , author of and , and producer of the podcast. “Once you’ve harvested garlic, keep air circulating around it by hanging it up, or it will become moldy. And never store it in a tight-lidded container.”