planting garlic

How to Plant Garlic

Garlic is a mainstay in Mediterranean cuisine, however, you don’t need warm weather to grow it. If you use the right conditions, you could plant garlic in a cold climate. Keep in mind that garlic needs a long growing season, which makes the fall and early winter the perfect time to plant. Just make sure the ground isn’t frozen yet. Then let the crop rest until the garlic is ready for reaping in the spring.


You don’t need too much space, effort, and dedication to get a good garlic crop. You will need some good garlic cloves to plant, which you could purchase online or at a gardening store; don’t use regular bulbs from a supermarket.


What Kind of Garlic Should You Plant?

Softneck Garlic

These are the types of garlic you buy at a grocery store. They grow up to 18 cloves per bulb and rarely create a flower stalk. They are also better suited to milder or warmer climates because they are intolerant to cold for long periods of time. However, they could be grown in colder areas with adequate winter protection. [1]


Here are some great softneck garlic varieties to grow: 

  • ‘Albigensian Wight’ – It produces large bulbs and heavy crops.
  • Silverskin’ 
  • ‘Iberian Wight’ — It has large cloves and stores well.
  • ‘Solent Wight’ – It produces small bulbs with a ton of flavor.
  • ‘Inchelium Red’
  • ‘Christo’ – This variety is easy to grow and stores well.
  • ‘California Early’ 
  • ‘California Late’

Read: People Are Growing Gardens Right Out of Bags of Soil and It Is Pure Genius


Hardneck Garlic

This kind of garlic produces about 10 cloves or less and is hardier than the softneck varieties. They can produce a flower stalk that curls as it matures, which is best to remove as soon as possible to allow the bulb to grow larger. 


Here are some great hardneck garlic varieties to plant: 

  • ‘Korean Red’
  • ‘Duganski’
  • ‘Siberian’
  • ‘Music’
  • ‘Chesnok Red’ — It’s been said to make amazing garlic bread.
  • ‘German Red’
  • ‘Spanish Roja’ [2]

Keep in mind that when you plant a single clove of garlic, it will grow into a full clove.


Step by Step” How to Plant Garlic

  1. Choose your planting date carefully. Plant once the cold season begins, but about 10 to 14 days before the ground freezes. This will allow the roots to spread before the frost. 
  2. Pick the area to plant. It should be sunny with well-drained soil.
  3. Before planting, prep the soil by loosening about 8 inches of it and adding all-purpose fertlizer with compost on top. Remember, you could also plant garlic in a large container.
  4. Then break the garlic heads into single cloves. But don’t peel the cloves. 
  5. Dig about 4 inches into the soil, and plant the clove with the tip pointing up. [3]
  6. Next, plant the garlic cloves about five inches apart from each other.
  7. Once the cloves are in place, cover them with soil and six inches of straw to protect them from the winter.
  8. In the spring, you should see green tips emerge from the soil. Use one boost of  nitrogen fertlizer.
  9. Also, once spring comes, water the garlic regularly about every 3 to 5 days, until the stalks turn yellow or until mid-June. Additionally, remove any weeds that pop up — ideally by hand since a hoe could damage the bulbs. Remove any flowers or curling stalks that appear as well. 
photo of curling garlic plant stalks
Photo credits: Gardener’s Supply Company

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Harvesting the Garlic

  1. Harvest the garlic plant in July and onward when you see the leaves turn yellow.
photo of yellowing garlic plant stalks
Photo credits: Gardener’s Supply Company
  1.  Gently lift out the bulbs with a trowel or fork.
photo of garlic head coming out of the soil
Photo credits: Gardener’s Supply Company
  1. Let the bulbs dry out in the sun for a few days on a table or tray.
Photo of garlic heads drying out
Photo credits: Gardener’s Supply Company
  1. Once the bulbs are dry and papery, store them in a cool, dry place. Keep in mind that softneck varieties store better than hardneck, so if you have both, eat the hardneck types first. [4]
Photo of heads of garlic
Photo credits: Almanac
  1. To use the garlic in cooking, simple peel the cloves and crush, slice, or chop them to add to different dishes. You could even roast the cloves whole for a delicious spread.

Keep Reading: The Internet Worked Together To Figure Out What This Mysterious Kitchen Tool Was



  1. “How to Plant Garlic.” Food Network. S.J. McShane. September 22, 2021
  2. “How to grow garlic.” BCC Gardeners’ World Magazine. July 5, 2021
  3. Garlic.Gardener’s Supply Company. January 28, 2021
  4. “Growing Garlic.Almanac
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.