Planting garlic is easy, but you have to make sure to get the timing right. If you plant it too late, then it won’t have time to form large, mature bulbs. So, in this post I will show you exactly when and how to plant garlic.
If you want to learn how to grow garlic in your garden, then it’s important to get the timing right. Many new gardeners make the mistake of planting garlic too late, and end up with tiny bulbs when they go to harvest it.
I am no exception! The first time I tried growing it in my garden was an epic failure, and I was extremely disappointed. The good news is that once you learn how and when to plant garlic, you’ll find that it’s super easy!
But first, let’s talk about how garlic is planted…
How Do You Plant Garlic?
Unlike most types of vegetables, you don’t grow garlic from seeds. Garlic seeds take too long to mature into full bulbs. Plus, the seeds don’t stay true to the original variety. So instead, you break apart the bulb and plant the individual cloves.
Where To Plant Garlic
The best place to plant garlic is in a full sun location where the soil has good drainage. Garlic will not tolerate wet feet, so be sure to choose a spot where the water drains fast.
It also grows best in loose, fertile soil that is free from impediments. So be sure to amend the soil with worm castings, compost, or an organic all-purpose fertilizer. And take the time to clear the bed of weeds, sticks, and rocks.
When To Plant Garlic
Knowing when to plant is key to having a good garlic harvest. Planting it at the wrong time is the most common mistake that new gardeners make.
If you’re a newbie, you might be surprised to learn that fall the best time to plant garlic, for most gardeners. If you live in a warm climate with a long growing season, you can indeed plant it in the spring.
But for the rest of us, the gardening season is too short, so we must plant it in the fall. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even in warmer areas, you may not get large heads if you plant it in the spring rather than the fall.
Here’s how to figure out exactly when to plant it in your garden…
- Planting in the fall – If you live in a cold climate like I do here in Minnesota, then wait to plant the cloves until after the first few frosts. Be sure to cover them with a 4-6″ layer of mulch for winter protection.
- Planting in the spring – Spring planting is best for warm climates with a long growing season. Plant your cloves as soon as the soil is workable in the winter, or very early spring.
How To Plant Garlic Step-By-Step
If you’ve ever planted any other type of bulb in your garden before, you’ll see that garlic is not much different. Here’s are the step-by-step instructions for planting it…
- Step 1: Prepare the garden bed, and remove any plants or weeds that were growing there.
- Step 2: Loosen up the soil, and mix in all-purpose fertilizer granules, compost, or organic worm castings. Be sure to also remove any rocks or large twigs.
- Step 3: Carefully divide the bulb into individual cloves, leaving the papery skin on the cloves.
- Step 4: Lay the cloves on top of the soil, spacing them 6-8″ apart.
- Step 5: Plant each one 2-3″ deep, with the pointy tip facing up.
- Step 6: Cover the cloves with soil, gently packing it down over the top.
- Step 7 (optional): If you’re planting in the fall, cover the bed with lightweight vegetable garden mulch.
Below I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about planting garlic bulbs. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, then ask it in the comments below and I’ll answer it asap.
How deep do you plant garlic?
You should plant each garlic clove 2-3″ deep. See the “How To Plant Garlic Step-By-Step” section above for more details.
Can you plant garlic without the skin?
Yes. Don’t worry if the papery skin accidentally came off as you were separating the cloves, that doesn’t mean they won’t grow.
Do you need to water garlic after planting?
If there’s no rain predicted, then water your garlic after planting to settle the soil over the cloves. Remember that they don’t like soggy soil, so only water garlic after planting if it’s dry.
Is it too late to plant garlic?
That depends on where you live. The best time to plant it is 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes in cold climates, or as soon as the soil is workable in warm areas. So planting in March or April is definitely too late in the spring. As is November or December in cold areas.
Planting garlic is easy, but it’s important to get the timing right. Don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, you’ll have the best and biggest harvest in the neighborhood.
More Vegetable Gardening Posts
- Growing Vegetables: The Ultimate Vegetable Garden Guide
- How To Design A Vegetable Garden Layout
- How To Grow Your Own Sprouts
- How To Tell Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes
- Tomatoes Not Turning Red? Try These 5 Tricks
Share your tips for planting garlic in the comments section below.