You might be surprised to know that garlic should be planted in the fall, and then harvested mid-summer. Planting garlic at the wrong time is the most common mistake that new gardeners make. In this post, I will show you exactly when and how to plant garlic.
How Do You Plant Garlic?
This has been a very popular question lately, so I thought I would write a post to show you exactly how to plant garlic.
Maybe it comes as no surprise to you that garlic needs to be planted in the fall rather than in the spring, but I know I was surprised when I learned that!
Unfortunately, it was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way. The first time I ever tried growing garlic in my garden… well, the words “epic failure” come to mind.
My Epic Garlic Growing Failure
Back when I was a gardening noob, I thought that you had to plant everything in the spring right after the last frost.
Everything! So, of course that’s when I planted my garlic.
Well, needless to say it was very… underwhelming. I mean, some of my garlic grew and I got super excited. But after the initial excitement of seeing green wore off, I completely forgot about them.
I was so busy (and probably completely overwhelmed) with weeding and other garden maintenance stuff that I forgot that the garlic even existed.
I didn’t plant much garlic that year, and all the other plants took over the garden and hid it, so it was easy to forget about it.
Once fall came (cause that’s when you’re supposed to harvest everything, right?), I finally remembered that I had planted garlic, and I was super excited to dig up some huge garlic bulbs.
There were a few tall green stalks, so I was sure that meant my garlic was doing great. So, before frost came I harvested everything in my garden, and saved the garlic for last.
Oh man, this is going to be awesome!
But when I dug up my garlic bulbs, I was completely disappointed.
There wasn’t much there except for a few super tiny garlic bulbs, and most of the garlic that I planted had only rotted in the ground (OMG, rotten garlic is pretty much the most disgusting thing I’ve ever smelled!!).
Gaging, I stuck to just digging up the ones with green stalks, but sure enough, none of them had the amazing, gorgeous garlic bulbs I was picturing in my head.
So, with head hanging heavy, I tossed my pathetic garlic harvest into the compost bin.
After that experience, I didn’t try growing garlic again for a few years. I wrote it off as “too hard to grow” or “it doesn’t grow well in my climate” and stuck to growing plants I was more familiar (and successful) with.
Learn about Vegetables That Taste Better After Frost
But Garlic Is Easy To Grow
The funny thing is, garlic is actually very easy to grow! I just didn’t know when to plant it.
If you live in a warm climate with a long growing season, you can indeed plant garlic in the spring. But our growing season in Minnesota is way too short to plant garlic in the spring!
Garlic grown in cold climates like mine will grow best when it’s planted in the fall. Just like with a lot of things in the garden, successfully growing large, beautiful garlic bulbs is all about the timing.
How To Plant Garlic In Your Garden
Garlic is grown from the individual cloves. Garlic cloves should be planted in the late fall or early winter.
Wait until after the first few frosts before you plant your garlic. Here’s how to plant garlic…
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden that you will dedicate to growing your garlic.
- Prepare the garden bed and remove any plants or weeds that were growing there.
- Loosen up the soil and mix in some compost or organic worm castings if you have it.
- Carefully break apart the garlic bulb into individual cloves (don’t remove the papery skin from the cloves).
- Plant the garlic cloves tip up; 3-4 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart.
- Cover the garlic cloves with soil.
- Cover the whole bed with a few inches of a light mulch (like straw or leaves) once you’re done planting your garlic.
That’s it! Told you it was easy to plant garlic bulbs.
Once spring comes, remove the layer of mulch and feed your garlic bulbs with fish emulsion, compost tea, or another organic fertilizer to give them a boost, and continue feeding throughout the growing season.
Your delicious home grown garlic will be ready to harvest in mid-summer when the foliage starts to die back on it’s own.
More Posts About Growing Vegetables
- Growing Vegetables: The Ultimate Vegetable Garden Guide
- Organic Vegetable Fertilizer Made Easy
- How To Grow Your Own Sprouts
- Vegetables That Taste Better After Frost
- Choosing The Best Mulch For Vegetable Gardens
Do you have any tips for planting garlic? Or maybe you have an epic garlic growing failure of your own you want to share. Tell us! Leave a comment below.