How to Plant Garlic – learn to plant the easiest garden crop ever! Growing garlic is so simple, even the newest gardener can master it.
A very good producer. It has thin pink bulb wrappers with lots of purple and brown. 8-9 easily peeled cloves in a bulb up to 2 1/2″. When growing, it is better adapted to wetter conditions than most others.
That garlic seed was pretty spendy ($16 for one pound), but the results were great! I basically planted them and ignored them for 10 months, and they produced wonderful results. Plant, ignore, and harvest? That is my favorite kind of crop!
Since 2011, I have saved the largest of the bulbs from each harvest and used them as my seed garlic for the next year’s harvest. I hold my breath every year, but it has never let me down. What is gardening other than gambling every time you plant something in the ground?
It is not too late to plant garlic in most zones. Farmer’s markets or online seed companies are great places to get great local seeds. Do try to find a variety adapted to your climate/zone. Even better, when you save your best bulbs each year to plant, you are strengthening that variety and adapting it to grow in your region. No matter our weather, I have great results every year with our garlic because it is used to my growing conditions.
There are essentially two types of garlic – hardneck and softneck. Hardneck “keeps” (stores) for a shorter amount of time, but is wicked easy to plant and gives you scapes in summer, which seems like bonus garlic to me.
Softneck stores better for longer periods of time, but can be a bit fussier. Confused about which to plant? Try both if you have space! And color me jealous if you do!
How to Plant Garlic
Prepare your space
A few weeks before planting, break up the soil and add amendments (fertilizers) as needed. I used my pitchfork – aka the chicken crap scooper – to turn up the soil. I added two wheelbarrows full of composted chicken manure, and two bags full of used coffee grounds. I get them from a local drive-thru coffee stand. They are free because the business is thrilled to get rid of them. Garlic doesn’t need acid soil or anything like that, but I tend to add (free) coffee grounds to all my gardening spaces.
Create little slots about two inches deep, and two inches apart from each other. I just use my pointer and middle finger.
Here is my “seed” garlic – the biggest and best from last year. And a photo of my disgusting six-year-old gardening/chicken boots. You’re welcome!
Break apart the cloves, trying your best to keep them wrapped in their papery covers.
Cover with soil, then cover with mulch of some sort. I use straw. The mulch keeps the weeds down over the fall, winter, spring, and until harvesting next summer. It also holds in the moisture if you live in a dry area. In my neck of the woods, it keeps the soil from washing away during the rainy months.
There you have it, you’re done. You’re now a garlic farmer/gardener. You’ve mastered how to plant garlic. For about one hour of work, you will get more garlic than you’ll know what to do with. Perhaps some Baked Brie and Roasted Garlic and Puff Pastry?
Don’t mind if I do.