Planting Garlic

Garlic is used in so many dishes, and with over 600 subvarieties, there is a perfect garlic variety for anyone. For the home grower, a year’s supply of garlic is easy to grow - and you can sell braids of it at the local farmers’ markets as a bonus. 

Garlic varieties falls into one of two basic categories: hardneck and softneck. Softneck varieties are best for warm climates, while hardneck is the garlic of choice for northern garlic farmers. 

In the north,  we plant garlic in the fall. So now is the time to get ready to start your garlic garden! 

Plant cloves 2 inches deep if you plan to mulch and 3-4 inches deep if you do not plan to mulch.

Space cloves 4 to 6 inches apart in each row and 18 to 24 inches between rows for large bulbs. Some growers believe planting garlic closer than this can increase yield, but others say it results in smaller bulbs. 

To Plant, separate bulbs into cloves right before planting, leaving the papery layer around each clove. 

Mulching your garlic can be very helpful. Mulch can protect against winter kill in cold climates. It helps moderate soil temperatures, keeps weeds in check, and conserves soil moisture. Mulching is not recommended in wetter climates. Mulch for garlic can be straw, hay, swamp grass, reeds, chopped leaves or plastic.

Weeds are a big threat to garlic, so be sure to keep the plot well-weeded. Weeds can easily outcompete young garlic plants. Good mulch keeps weeds in check.

Water garlic evenly during early growth, but avoid watering for the last few weeks.


It’s time to harvest your garlic when half to three-quarters of the bottom leaves have died. This usually happens by mid- to late summer - July and August for most areas.