8 Steps for Great Garlic!
- To be planted in the fall
- Full sun
- High organic matter in soil
Garlic does not like:
- The same spot two years in a row
- Weed competition
STEP 1: PREPARE YOUR SOIL IN SEPTEMBER
- Remove all weeds from the area.
- Add compost or manure.
- Dig into the top 6” of soil.
- Buy your garlic at this time and choose good-sized bulbs to start.
STEP 2: PLANT YOUR GARLIC CLOVES IN OCTOBER
- Split the bulbs into individual cloves (save any damaged or very small cloves for your next meal).
- Plant the cloves 2–4” deep and 6–8” apart.
- Plant four weeks before the ground freezes; aim for early October (Thanksgiving weekend).
STEP 3: COVER WITH MULCH IN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
- Cover Your Cloves With 2–4” Of Straw, Leaves, Or Grass Clippings.
- Mulching Will Help With Weed Control, To Prevent Drying Out, And Add Some Insulation; This Needs To Be Done Before The Snow Starts.
STEP 4: MONITOR FROM JANUARY TO JUNE
- Your Cloves Will Sprout Roots Underneath The Snow, Grow Through Spring, And Reach Full Size In June.
- Water If There Is A Long Dry Spell (Two Or More Weeks) In May Or June.
- Pull Out Any Weeds That Sprout Through The Mulch.
STEP 5: CUT THE SCAPES AT THE BEGINNING OF JULY
- Once The Scape (Flower Stalk That Sprouts In Spring) Curls Once Around, Cut Or Snap It Off; This Will Direct The Energy To A Large Bulb Rather Than Putting The Energy Towards Flowers And Seed.
- To Add Interest To Your Garden, Try Leaving A Few Scapes; You’ll Find That The Energy The Plant Uses To Make Scapes Results In These Plants Having Smaller Garlic Bulbs At Harvest.
- Fry Or Bbq The Scapes In Any Recipe As You Would A Green Onion Or Asparagus—delicious!
STEP 6: HARVEST AT THE BEGINNING OF AUGUST
- As the garlic matures in late July, the bottom leaves will turn brown from the ground up.
- Once half the leaves are brown, dig up the garlic with a shovel or pitchfork.
- Shake off loose soil, leaving roots and stems attached, and bring in from the garden.
- You can start to eat a few bulbs at this point, but they won’t store well until they’ve been dried.
STEP 7: DRY (2 WEEKS)
- Bring your garlic plants into an area with open air and shade; a shed or covered porch will suffice.
- Tie plants in bundles of 10 and hang to dry.
- Once your plants have dried for a few days, try braiding some—this is a great way to store garlic (and it makes for a nice gift!)
- Leave for two weeks, or until the stem is dry throughout, then cut 1” above the bulb.
- Trim the roots, cut the stems, and store in a dry spot above 10°C (50°F). Inside a paper or mesh bag in the kitchen pantry works great.
STEP 8: SHARE AND ENJOY
For more great garden advice, check out the Growing Vegetables care tip: