Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: Fall planted, then harvested the following year
Height: 12 to 24 inches
Spacing: 4 to 6 inches apart, 1 to 2 feet between rows
There are many reasons that garlic (Allium sativum), a prominent member of the onion family, has been cultivated for thousands of years. Today’s gardeners know that growing garlic is ridiculously easy to care for, takes up little room in the garden and provides an essential flavor for many dishes.
Garlic is valued for its kick and many health-boosting benefits. Research has shown that garlic can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Many Italian grandmothers have relied on it for generations to knock back colds, too.
Fun Fact: Hippocrates (born c. 460 BC), regarded as the father of Western medicine, used this popular vegetable for treating poor digestion, shortness of breath, parasites and lethargy.
Planet Natural offers the organic amendments that your plants need to thrive.View all
If you’re looking for the fastest ticket to a lush garden, start at ground level. Planet Natural offers a large selection of soil amendments, inoculants and testing kits to help you produce healthy, productive plants year after year.
- Choose large, blemish-free bulbs
- Plant in sandy, compost-rich soil in full sun
- Mulch heavily; water and fertilize regularly
- For best harvest, plant in fall and harvest the following summer
- Very few pests aside from onion maggot larva
Each spring, work plenty of organic compost into your planting area. Garlic thrives in all zones and does very well in raised beds, except in very dry areas. It requires full sun in sandy, fast-draining soil full of organic matter. Regular watering during the gardening season is recommended for optimal bulb development.
How to Plant
Plant garlic in spring in cold winter regions; late fall in mild winter areas (see Fall is Garlic Planting Time). When planting, break the bulbs apart into individual cloves and, with the papery husks on, poke the cloves into the ground with the pointed end up (root end down) 1 inch deep in rows 1 foot apart. Top the soil with 4 to 6 inches of mulch to help maintain soil moisture and limit weeds. Fertilize by spraying leaves every two weeks with fish and kelp fertilizer or side dress with a good organic bulb food.
Tip: If you want to produce large garlic bulbs, plant only large garlic cloves.
Harvest using a spading fork when the leafy tops fall over, usually in June or July, depending on your location. Air-dry the bulbs by tying plants together in bundles of 6 to 10 and hanging them to cure for about four to six weeks. When completely dry, remove the tops and the roots and store in a cool dry area. Spring-planted garlic requires 120-150 days to reach maturity. However, the best quality and yields are from fall-planted garlic.
Looking for a tasty treat? Every gourmand worth her designer sea salt is using garlic scapes to flavor dishes ahead of the garlic harvest.
Insects and Diseases
Very few pests bother with garlic, but occasionally, the can be seen in cloves at harvest time. The typical symptom is premature dying of the leaf tips.
Seed Saving Instructions
After curing, garlic may be stored in paper bags or hung in braids or in bunches. Bulbs that are to be used for planting stock will keep for 6 to 8 months when stored in the dark at 35-40˚F and 60% humidity.
Provides organic matter and natural nutrients for flowers and vegetables.
Gardeners know earthworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Bulb Food (3-8-8)
Contains extra phosphorous for sustained flowering and potassium for plant vigor.
Organic Fish & Seaweed (2-3-1)
Use on a regular basis for bigger crops, increased sugars and better blooms.