How to Grow Garlic. Now’s the time!

Garlic is a fall planted crop that is harvested in July. So if you’re reading this in October, now is the time to plant your garlic or next year’s harvest.  (but if it isn’t fall, don’t worry you *can* plant garlic in the spring) A step by step tutorial on how to plant garlic!

Skip right to the instructions.

Many, many, many, several, too many to count … years ago, my father brought home some garlic.  He got it from an old Italian man at work.  Actually, I’m making up the old Italian man part, but it seems entirely possible.  And THAT is when my garlic growing obsession began.  I’m obsessed with many things, that’s how I’ve learned to do so much and why I can’t sleep at night because I’m always plotting, planning or cleaning up after my latest venture.  Occasionally I’m getting rid of evidence.

Any idiot can grow garlic.  Seriously.  When’s the last time you watched a television special on the “Remarkable Garlic Growing Person”?  Never.  Because you do not have to be remarkable in any way, shape or form to successfully grow garlic.

Same for bean sprouts. You can grow bean sprouts at home in 4 days. These are not difficult skills.

For growing garlic you just need some garlic and some dirt.  Or “soil” for you uppity types.   You also need fall weather to plant garlic (although even that isn’t a deal breaker – more on that later).   Ready?  Let’s plant some garlic.

The first thing you need to know is which type you should be planting: hardneck or softneck garlic?

What’s the difference between Hardneck and Softneck garlic?

Softneck garlic
  • Softneck garlic is best grown in warmer climates. 
  • Has no stalk that grows up from the centre and therefore doesn’t produce a garlic scape.  
  • Softneck garlic heads are generally smaller than hardneck and have smaller cloves. 
  • The head of a softneck garlic can be made up of multiple rows of garlic cloves.
  • Softneck garlic will store for 6-8 months if kept in optimal conditions.
Hardneck  garlic
  • Hardneck garlic is best grown in cooler climates.
  • It has a long hard stalk that grows up from the centre of the head, producing a scape in June and a flower head later in the season filled with little garlic bulbils which you can use as garlic seed. 
  • Hardneck garlic is larger than softneck and has bigger cloves.
  • Cloves form the head in a single row.
  • Hardneck garlic will store for 4-6 months if kept in optimal conditions.


So generally speaking, if you live in a climate where you get lots of very cold temperatures and snow in the winter, plant hardneck. If you live in a warmer climate with mild winters and hot summers, softneck garlic is for you.

How to Grow Garlic

side by side garlic

Separate your garlic head into cloves.  Just pull them apart.  Pick out the biggest cloves for planting.



The flat end of the garlic is the root end.



The pointy end is the tip of the garlic. It needs to point up.



You want to plant the garlic “root” end down 2-3 inches into the ground.   The bigger the clove you plant, the bigger the resulting head of garlic will be.  If you sprinkle a little oregano on top of the garlic and squeeze a tomato over everything, in 9 months you’ll have grown a delicious marinara sauce.  

No you won’t.



Plant the cloves so they’re around 4 inches apart and their tips are covered by two inches of dirt.
Cover them up and wait.  Through the fall the clove will start to develop roots and maybe even a shoot depending on how warm your weather is.


By the spring with a little help from sun, water and these little guys to aerate the soil, you’ll have garlic plants starting!  A single clove, produces an entire head of garlic.


Harvesting takes place in July followed by curing the garlic and properly storing it.

Heads Of Garlic

How to Grow Garlic.

Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 304 days 4 hours
Total Time: 304 days 4 hours 30 minutes

How to grow hardneck garlic. From planting to harvesting.


  • Heads of garlic


  • Trowel or shovel


  1. Separate your head of garlic into individual cloves.
  2. Choose the largest cloves for planting.
  3. Plant the garlic, flat end down (the root end) in a hole that is 3-4" deep. When covered with soil, the tip of the garlic should be around 2" below the soil line.
  4. Fall planted garlic will develop roots underground in the fall and then go dormant through the winter. In spring it starts to grow again.
  5. In June, hardneck garlic will send up "scapes". Scapes are the tip of the growing stalk. Cut these off once they loop into a complete circle. Garlic
  6. DON'T THROW THE SCAPES OUT. You can use them for cooking or making a DELICIOUS garlic scape pesto.
  7. Stop watering your garlic 2 weeks before you harvest. (Around the time the lower leaves on the plant have turned brown.)
  8. Dig garlic up in July when one half of the leaves are brown. This indicates the garlic is ready to be harvested.
  9. Cure your garlic by hanging it in a well ventilated, shaded area like a porch. Leave it to dry for 2 weeks. This curing process will help your garlic to store much longer.
  10. Once cured you can cut the roots off of your garlic and the stem, leaving 1-2" of stem above the bulb.
  11. Store garlic between 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. A humidity level of 65% is the best.


  • The bigger the clove you plant the bigger the head of garlic will be.
  • If properly stored hardneck garlic will store for around 6 months.
  • You can also freeze your garlic cloves. Just separate the cloves and put them in a freezer safe container. Do not remove the skins, they're a protective layer.
  • Want garlic powder? Dry extra garlic in a dehydrator and then grind it into homemade garlic powder.
  • Softneck garlic is planted and grown the exact same way except it's planted in the spring and there are no scapes to remove.
  • If you missed the fall planting for your garlic, don't worry! You can still plant it in the spring and get a good garlic harvest. A gardener at my community garden does this every year. Your garlic heads may just be a little smaller than fall planted garlic.

Garlic Tips


  1. Despite what you may have read on the Internet, you can just buy garlic for planting at the grocery store.  As long as the garlic hasn’t been treated with anything to keep it from sprouting you’ll be fine.  As a little experiment, I bought 2 heads of garlic from my produce aisle.  One bulb of regular giant garlic and a package of smaller, organic garlic.  Both of them sprouted and grew. HOWEVER note that most grocery store garlic is not locally produced and can introduce new disease to your soil. 
  2. For the best quality garlic you should buy locally sourced garlic heads that do well in your growing area. Music, Russian Red, and Chesnok Red are all popular hardneck varieties. Italian softneck is a standard softneck variety.
  3. If you forgot to plant your garlic in the fall you can also do it in the spring!  But hardneck varieties do best when they have a period of “cold”.  So stick the planting bulbs in a refrigerator 2 weeks prior to planting them out in the spring. The cold will trigger them to come out of dormancy and sprout when you remove them from the fridge.
  4. Stop watering your garlic 2 weeks before you harvest. Around the time the lower leaves on the plant have turned brown.
  5. Garlic dies from the bottom of the stem up. It’s time to dig up your garlic when the bottom half of the leaves have turned brown.   
  6. Don’t pull your garlic out of the ground, dig it.  Otherwise you may break the head apart.
  7. Store your garlic in a well ventilated area that’s 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit and 65% humidity.
  8. If you  have extra garlic you can stick unpeeled cloves in the freezer, or dehydrate them in a dehydrator to make garlic powder.


I use an Excalibur dehydrator (it’s pretty much what most dehydrating enthusiasts use) for all my dehydrating projects. You can take a look at the Excalibur dehydrator here (this one is white, but mine is black.)

Hands down my favourite garlic recipe is actually one that doesn’t use any garlic at all! It uses the garlic scapes I harvest in June. My garlic scape pesto is delicious on pasta or pizza and stores for a year in the freezer!

Now that you have all the information you need on how to grow garlic so get out there and get your hands dirty.  Or for the more refined among you – soily.  



  1. Lindsey Stell says:

    Hi, I am with Sage Magazine and we would love to feature this in our April issue. Just let us know if you are interested. Thank you!,

  2. Heidi says:

    Hi, I live in Picayune, Mississippi (southern MS).

    When is the best time for me to plant garlic. I was dying to plant some this spring but saw it’s a fall veggie:( I LOVE garlic!!

  3. Lori says:

    Scapes are delicious too! I use them in salsa and other recipes that call for green oinions….

  4. Crystal says:

    read your article. Loved your humour. And love garlic too….thanks for sharing! :)

  5. Charlie says:

    Hello my name is Charlie Anne and i am looking to grow some garlic for the first time. I live in WA state and am wondering if i can plan garlic now or if i have waited to long? Currently its been in the 30’s and 40’s at night here, does that mean its too late to plant? Thank you so much for your time, and i am looking forward to hearing back..

  6. Britt says:


    Thanks so much for your post! I wanted to ask you a question. I ordered my garlic a little late and now we are into some very cold weather. I live in utah zone 6. Can you suggest what I should do with my garlic or do i just toss it because it is too late to do anything with it? I have never grown garlic before so I don’t know much about it. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Britt – If you can dig … you can plant. I planted a few bulbs in January last year because it never ended up getting cold in Southern Ontario. (it was a very weird winter). Zone 6 is great hardneck garlic conditions. So like I say, if the ground is still workable plant the garlic. If not, just wait until you have a bit of a thaw and run out and plant it. Otherwise, get it into the ground as SOON as you can in the spring. The second the ground thaws out plant it. It’ll be fine! Just keep your garlic stored in a cool, dry place. It may start to sprout on you, but that’s O.K. The cool room should help to keep it from sprouting though. ~ karen

  7. Cathy says:

    Gosh, this is so timely. We got our first snow this week and it has been cold the last few days but I think I can still plant garlic; gonna try anyway.Is this when you plant onions in Zone 4B or do they plant in the spring? Thanks so much, Karen! I just love your blog and your chicken advice has been invaluable. I love the chickens!! One more question – Can you freeze eggs? We have many more than we can eat and give away and I don’t want to waste them.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cathy – You can plant your garlic as long as you can work the ground. If it isn’t frozen … you can plant it. Now is not the time to plant onions. Wait til the spring. I’ve heard you can freeze eggs, but I’ve never done it myself so I have no idea how they are afterwards. My guess is they’d be watery. Give it a shot! ~ karen

  8. Debbie D'Alfonso says:

    Am going to plant some in a flower bed that contains ornamental grass plants as it gets the most sun. My other choice is under a deck that gets sun until mid day. Both are close to my neighbor’s black walnut tree. I have had tomatoes that will not grow because of the tree. Will the garlic thrive? Thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie – Plant your garlic in either location. I don’t have any personal experience with this, but from what I know, garlic, onions, beans and corn are some of the vegetables that aren’t harmed by the toxins released by the Black Walnut. So plant away! ~ karen

  9. Kels says:

    So.. these scapes… they’re useless???? My kids “accidentally” threw some garlic out that was laying in the garage (waiting to be taken into the house). The next year, I had these long plants growing and then what I thought was seeds. I never harvested it because I didn’t know when.. because I thought they were seeds etc.. Anyways.. what are the scapes for? They are pretty for decorations but when they open and seed, they’re not so pretty.

    • Melissa says:

      Scapes are definitely NOT useless!!! :D They are very Yummy (especially if you love garlic! -I sautee or steam them (by themselves of with other veggies) add butter, and add them to stir frys! I did an experiment and noticed no difference in yield between those I “pinched off” and those I didn’t. Also the top sets (the mini bulblets can be used to grow scallion-like baby garlic)

      This website says basically the same things: (they even did the same experiment)


  10. Donna T says:

    Hi from Oregon! I grew garlic for years starting with a few cloves I bought at the local grocery store (luckily they had apparently not been sprayed with growth inhibitor!). I noticed the elephant garlic had little hard “corms” attached to the roots of the huge heads when I dug them up. I left those behind in the soil, and Wa Laa! They grew garlic even when I didn’t get around to replanting. The “corms” look like tiny hard cloves of garlic, about the size of a large marble. Oh yes, and I also had a few garlic that grew a head kind of like an onion… one large head, no cloves. Weird, but interesting addition to my garlic “collection”.

  11. Becca Gater says:

    I apologize if you have already answered this… Is there a problem with planting in containers outside? Also how much sun do they need? I am in NJ, if that makes a difference.

    • Karen says:

      Hi becca! I’m in Ontario, Canada so we have solar climates. I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to plant garlic in pots outside. Just make sure they’re in full sun (or the most sun you have access to) and you remember to keep them watered. I have a hunch they’d do better in the ground but I think they’ll work in a big pot with good soil. Don’t plant them until the end of October or so. Good luck! – karen!

  12. sharon says:

    I’m buying some garlic tomorrow! I love reading your post’s!Your so down to earth,funny,and a very smart cookie! Thanks for all you shared ideas

  13. Dawn Aran says:

    I live in MIami, Florida. would i be able to grow it down here….”open the oven door” heat and “wring out ur shirt” humidity during the summer. when? need shade? how long to get a harvest. I’m full of very simple questions, i know. Never grew a veg garden. this will be my 1st attempt… complete novice here!
    thanks for any advice & tips,

    • Karen says:

      Dawn – You can grow garlic in Florida, it’s just a little trickier. Garlic likes the winter. You can do it but you’ll have to grow a different variety than I do. I grow hard neck garlic, where you’d be better off choosing a soft neck for your region. Go to a farmers market if there’s one around you and buy some of their garlic to plant. That way you know it won’t be sprayed with a sprout inhibitor and you know it will grow in your area. Don’t buy it from a grocery store because you have no idea where it has come from or whether or not it will grow in your area. Or grow at all! Often grocery store heads of garlic won’t sprout because they’ve been sprayed with something to stop sprouting. You want to plant around December. (November and January would be fine too) Whenever the days are the shortest. Good luck. ~ karen!

      • Dawn Aran says:

        THANKS! we do have a few farmers markets and i plan to ck them out! will give this a try in Dec. I love garlic so it wld b fun to eat some that i’ve grown

  14. Lisa says:

    Hi Karen! I was wondering when you’ll have an update on harvesting garlic. I’m in zone 3 (North Dakota) & my organic grocery store garlic is starting to dry/die back, so I’m not sure how long to cure it and all that fun stuff, counting on ya! (no pressure)
    :-) Lisa

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa! I planned to do a garlic post soon, but here’s a tip. When around half the leaves have died back, it’s time to dig up your garlic. You don’t want to wait until the whole plant has browned, otherwise the garlic will be dried out. ~ karen!

  15. Pats says:

    I have chives in small pots that I leave outside year round. (I’m in Plant Hardiness Zone 5) They come back year after year. I bet I could do this with garlic too!

    • Karen says:

      Pats – Indeed you could! But it wouldn’t work :(. Garlic has to be planted every fall from the cloves of a garlic head. HOWEVER, if the pot is HUGE enough (deep) you could give growing them in a pot every year a try. Or is that what you meant? Oops. Nevermind. ~ karen

  16. Susie says:

    Hi! Quick question-would you recommend rehydrating the (store bought) garlic before planting it? Like sticking it in some water for an hour or so? Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susie. No, there’s no reason to do that. It’s actually too late to plant garlic now. Depending on where you are, the end of October/November is the time to plant. You can get away with planting it any time in the very late fall or even winter as long as the ground is workable. ~ karen!

  17. Andreae says:

    Hey guess what! I have been planting the same brand of organic grocery store garlic as the one in your photo for the last two years, and it has been excellent. I got in there really late this year (really late… like after Christmas late…) but I’m in Newfoundland where the weather is ridiculous, so I take planting times as just kind of a polite suggestion. The soil in my garlic bed was partially frozen, so I could only just barely cover the cloves. As soon as I could chip away the frozen compost from my inefficient and partially rotten composter this spring, I put a nice, thick layer on top of my garlic babies, followed by another layer of soil. Now, despite my abusive behaviour, I have a gorgeous-looking army of garlic plants coming up through the soil, looking like total street toughs in the freak snowfall we had here yesterday. Oh, indestructible garlic, you are mighty. I might get small crappy cloves this year due to my tardiness, but I’m really in it for the scapes anyway (my favourite vegetable, but I’ve been eating them for, like, ten years, so I’m old school and I’m allowed… I would totally have eaten your flower arrangements… no, I wouldn’t have, but I would have thought about it…).

  18. Hannah Jarboe says:

    I live in Northern Texas. When is a good time for me to start planting garlic? I’m really wanting to try this. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hannah. If you can work the soil you can probably run out and plant it now. You need to get it in the ground as quickly as possible. Fall is best, but if you can get it in early spring, you should have garlic by August or so. ~ karen!

  19. Nicole says:

    Please stop the pop-up survey questions… they are the worst and ruin your amazing site. Who wants to be on a site with a pop-up that keeps scrolling down the page? And all the “ad choices” info above your banner? Its awful.

    • Karen says:

      Nicole – First of all, ads are the only way bloggers make money. You don’t have to pay for the posts, so we need to get paid somehow. I’ve changed ad networks and things haven’t settled in yet. There aren’t supposed to be any pop up survey ads. However, the banner ad at the top of my site will be staying. I don’t see anything wrong with it. If I were to take all my ads down, sadly, I’d have to take down the whole site. Most people who read blogs don’t understand, that the only way we make money is from those ads. Get rid of the ads, then you get rid of the sites. (This blog is a full time job requiring around 10 hours a day, 6 days a week of work) Hopefully you can live with the odd ad, although I agree the pop ups aren’t supposed to be there. I’ll look into it. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Oh! And I meant to say, whenever there are upgrades or changes to my site that might make it perform differently for a while I always post about it on Facebook. If you join up, you’ll be warned of things like the ads or when I’m upgrading my server etc. ~ k

  20. alane123 says:

    I had unknowingly left a head of garlic in a glass measuring cup, inside the cabinet, in N.Carolina for 3 dark/cold winter months, no heat or electric on in the house. And (tada) I came back to find wonderful green sprouts ! Here I wasted all that time planting it in the dirt outside, sheesh. But, this year, fortified with all this inside info, I will be the neighborhood Garden Garlic Princess ! Mucho thanks !

  21. Kelly says:

    Dad you should add garlic to the garden!

  22. KittyCardea says:

    I’ve tried planting the garlic from the produce section. It hasn’t worked. It always grows for a bit, then dies. I am fairly sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong. A friend suggested that the problem is that most of our grocery store garlic comes from China. ((shrug)) So, this year I’m buying garlic sets from the lawn and garden store.

  23. Patty says:

    What I just started doing may be a total fail, but I had some garlic growing in my refrigerator last week, so I planted it in a few pots indoors (it’s getting very cold outside and my raised garden isn’t built yet). In only 5 days my garlic has grown 4 inches. I’m not kidding! I’m going to cut it back so it can concentrate on growing the bulbs and see what happens. Even if I don’t get good garlic bulbs, it’s been alot of fun with garlic that I would have ordinarily thrown away!

    • Karen says:

      Patty – Put it outside! Put it outside! And don’t cut it back! Oh dear. You only pinch the top portion of the stem back once it’s around 2 feet high or more and has started to form the scape. The flower bud portion of the plant. The garlic likes this winter business. At the very least, take half of it out and plant it outside. In a deep pot is fine. If the sprouts are outside of the soil, that’s fine. The winter won’t harm them. ~ karen! (let me know how the indoor stuff works.)

    • Sandy Blackford says:

      Patty I hope you ate the trimmings that you cut off the garlic plants, they are delish cut up in a salad… best not to trim them at all though until it is time to cut off the scapes…don’t waste those either! ps. I have just planted a few garlic cloves in pots in my hot tub room, temp in there is about 55 – 60 . Light conditions are not great but they do get early morning sun. I am hoping to be able to harvest a few green stalks to put in my salad. I have my main garlic crop already planted in my raised beds. Also, dried scapes make a fantastic mild, garlic powder….I would be happy to email the “recipe” to anyone who is interested. I hope that would be ok to do that Garlic Queen?

  24. Tracy says:

    This is so awesome. I am determined to make a “Lazy Girl raised bed Garden” using cinder blocks this coming spring and use only low maintenance veggies to plant (or whatever….) This is perfect! Only..I guess I need to start “today” right?! LOL!

  25. Becky says:

    There was a little girl who did an organic vs regular sweet potato experiment…I wonder if you’ve seen her video. Very compelling stuff. I’m curious to see how your regular garlic bulb grows compared to your organic bulb.

    Here’s a link to her video.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Becky! I’ll have a look. When I ran into town yesterday to pick up a few things a small shop had “local” garlic which was obviously never sprayed with anything and it looked just like the stuff I used to grow from my dad. Very small with 6 or so cloves to each head. I’m thinking of ripping out the regular store stuff and planting this now! What dope. :) ~ karen

  26. Blair says:

    Would it be acceptable to do this in a pot? I live in an apartment so my gardening has to happen on my patio…

    • Karen says:

      Blair – Yup. Just make sure the pot is big enough. The bigger the better. At least 12″ deep. Keep it watered and make sure it’s in the sun. Those long rectangular planters work well too, as long as they’re big and deep. ~ karen!

  27. Eva says:

    ooooh thanks for the post! totally doing it this weekend. just have to decide where….

  28. Vinci.L says:

    How often do you have to water them in Vancouver BC or do you just leave them in the soil???? Thanks for the awesome post!!!!!!!! Yum garlic bread!!!! :)

    • Karen says:

      Vinci.L – Just leave em in the ground. Come spring treat them like any other vegetable. Water when it’s dry. Although being in Vancouver … you should probably be O.K. :) ~ karen

  29. Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily says:

    This is pure, simple awesomness! Why the heck have I never even considered growing my absolute favorite errr, food? I live in Phoenix, so I should be o.k. to plant a few bulbs right?

    just because something is Organic is not a guaruntee that it hasn’t been sprayed w pesticides. yup, I was shocked too.

  30. Shauna says:

    We just planted garlic for the first time ever as well. They grow so quickly, we already have green shoots coming out of the ground.

  31. Nancy says:

    I remember the post with the garlic scapes..they looked so pretty the way you arranged them..I think I will give the garlic planting a try!!

  32. Laura says:

    Thank you! I planted garlic a few years ago, but didn’t know when they were supposed to be ready. I just left them! I’m going to go plant more right now! (I have some crocus bulbs waiting to be put in too. Thanks for the reminder.)

  33. Brenda j says:

    Good to know; as the ones I put in, in the spring did notta! Now I know why.

  34. Lonelle says:

    Hmmm…we got a huge (for So Cal, lol) hail storm last night and everything is frozen this morning!! I guess its to late for me to plant right?

    • Karen says:

      Lonelle – I’m not sure about planting in Southern California … but for the price of the garlic, and the fun of the reward, I’d say as soon as you can work the soil, plant the garlic and see what happens. Then in the early, early spring plant some more. From the both plantings, something should end up producing garlic! ~ karen

      • Lonelle says:

        Thanks!! I am going to try it!! It is pretty unusual to have snow/hail this early (at least in the 12 yrs I have lived here!!) I am going to plant some in some containers on the front porch since I have all the supplies!

  35. Shawna says:

    Thank you for the kick in the pants that I needed! I have had garlic sitting on my counter for two weeks waiting to be planted. It’s now sprouting inside and I am getting up from my chair and heading out the door to plant it. Right now!

  36. Andrea says:

    I will plant today! YAY I finally have some information from someone I trust on planting garlic! I have a planter at my apartment, out on the balcony. Will this suffice for planting? Should I be getting a worm or two to live in there? And Should I be leaving the planter on the balcony over the winter or bringing it inside?

    Thank you for the amazing post! I was really stumped! REALLY!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea – I’ve never grown garlic in a planter, but it shouldn’t be a problem, I don’t think. No you don’t need to get worms, LOL. Keep the planter outside. Don’t bring it in. Just plant the garlic the way I’ve shown you and hope for the best! ~ karen

      • Clare says:

        Hi there

        I have successfully grown garlic in a planter on a balcony. Just make sure it is a reasonable size (ie at least 12 inches/ 30 cm deep, use a reasonable quality potting mix, and make sure it gets enough sun.
        We grew fabulous elephant garlic year after year on in the same pot, keeping some back from each crop to start the next. Plus the flowers are really pretty while you wait for the garlic …

  37. Chrissy says:

    I just planted my garlic yesterday! I thought it was a little late in the season, but better late than never. I planted organic cloves from a farmer’s market the fall before, but nothing ever came up. I’m not at all sure why. Apparently there is something remarkable about me because I CAN”T grow garlic? I picked a different spot this year and got seed garlic. We’ll see.

  38. Claudine says:

    Both this and the scape post are thoroughly enjoyable! Thanks. But I hope no one reads this and comes and picks things out of my garden…

  39. Heather says:

    Wonderful! I love garlic, and I cannot get enough of it!

  40. Tricia Rose says:

    Boy oh boy your soil looks good.

    • Pam says:

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. “Dang, look at that soil!” Here in Oklahoma our garlic is likely to drown – our clay traps all the rain. Then, during the long, HOT summer, the rains stop and everything dries up and blows away.

      Can you tell I’ve given up on any sort of gardening here in OK?

      I do love looking at good gardening pictures, though, and isn’t it funny to be jealous of CANADA? When I lived in Montana, we thought the southern half of North America had it made garden-wise! :)

  41. Pam says:

    I have garlic in my perennial beds because the stalks and tops are very ornamental. And last a really long time… They’re my favorite!


  42. Lorri-Ann says:

    How much sun do the garlic plants need. Is morning or afternoon OK or do they need a full dose of midday sun exposure? Do they tolerate any shade? Thanks,

    • Karen says:

      Lorri-Ann – Like most vegetables or herbs, garlic likes to get as much sun as possible. A little bit of shade at some point in the day is fine, but the more sun, the bigger and better the bulbs will be. ~ karen

  43. Sharmila says:

    Hi Karen, I live in MA, US. I am heading out right now with my daughter to plant GARLIC… I love your humor… every bit of it… When I finish this garlic project I will post the pics on my blog..She is only three has no clue but she hangs around with me a lot so she knows her garlic and onions… moms little girl… we have done some heavy bulb planting this fall… why not do some garlic… after hearing your adventures of GARLIC we want to give a try… Too bad I cannot plant the marinara suace…

  44. Jules says:

    SO Im really dumb when it comes to planting….like baking, I feel like I need a step by my question it…does it matter WHAT dirt? any dirt? like just pick a spot in my yard and throw it in?- doesnt matter how deep?
    Im anal I know..(annoying)..I think thats why I cant grow anything..
    Ill try this though..TODAY!
    Thanks Karen

    • Karen says:

      Jules – I mentioned in the post that you should plant them so the tip is covered by an inch or 2 of dirt. And any soil will do. Most vegetables and such like full sun and good drainage. ~ karen!

  45. marilyn says:

    hey karen does it matter if the garlic is the chinese stuff? im pretty sure that is what is in the grocery stores these days? my bro in law grows amazing garlic but i ran out of it so will have to resort to planting the grocery store stuff. thanks for the tips.

    • Karen says:

      Marlyn – You have to make sure the garlic hasn’t been treated to keep it from sprouting. Just buy some organic garlic to plant and you should be fine! Barring that, you could go to a seed store and see i they have any garlic for planting there to sell. ~ karen

  46. Heather says:

    I love your blog and happen to be in the Garlic business. We get questions about planting garlic ALL THE TIME and I love your blog post and wonder if we might repost and link to you from our website…

    Thanks Garlic Queen of Canada.. from a Garlic Princess in California :)

  47. karenagain says:

    I’ll give it a try tomorrow. I have nothing to lose. Thanks again. BTW, fresh garlic is my BF’s favorite snack (ewww). I buy it at the Farmer’s Market for him, but I would love to grow it myself. BTW, he NEVER gets sick.

  48. karenagain says:

    Today is the day for the latest snowfall day in Edmonton history ever (according to my Grade 2 boasty neice and her little sister). And no snow has fallen yet this year. But, I don’t live in Edmonton and I got snow on Thursday. Can I still plant garlic?

    Does one clove grow into a head/bulb that you unearth come summer? Please explain. Garlic should be easy but it confuses me. I bought bulbs in the spring, never planted them, because I didn’t know which end was up. You have explained that. Now I know. Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Karenagain – Yes, one clove of garlic will turn into one entire head of garlic. (hopefully) The odd time all you get is one big, stupid clove. It maybe be too late for garlic planting in Edmonton, I’m afraid. The roots need a chance to grow a bit before the hard frost hits and it stops growing. I’ve left planting my garlic too late for even Ontario, but it should be fine here. If you can still work the ground, you might as well give it a shot! What the hell. ~ karen

  49. alexandra says:

    Karen- I have a problem… well not a problem so much as an opportunity that could turn out terribly if I don’t do things right.
    My Dad has sent me some garlic, he got it from an old Italian man at work (not kidding). It’s gorgeous. I’m excited about growing garlic. I want to plant it right now. However- I’m moving. Specifically, I’m moving from NC to Buffalo. In December. Will garlic do alright in containers? Will it survive my move? I would assume so if I protect it…but should I transplant in the spring? Should I try to plant it at my mother’s on American Thanksgiving and then prune it while she’s out and steal it from her next year?

    What to do..What to do???

    p.s. I know you’re not The Garlic Queen of Canada but I figured you might have a little bit of advice…

    • Karen says:

      Alexandra – I actually happen to *be* the garlic queen of Canada. I have a sash and everything. You have a couple of choices here. If I were you I’d split the cloves in half (however many you have). Take half of the cloves and keep them in a dark, dry place. Not the fridge. They need a tiny bit of air circulation. A basement maybe. Something like that. In the spring, the very second you can work the soil, plant the garlic like I’ve shown you. The other cloves you can bring with you to Buffalo to try and plant, but knowing Buffalo the way I do, chances are in December you won’t be able to work the soil. However, it’s worth a shot. This way you should end up with garlic one way or another. The bulbs you store should last long enough to still be viable to plant in the spring, and the ones you try to plant in December in Buffalo, might just work out for you. Don’t try to plant them in a pot and grow them in the house. That won’t work. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a float to wave from and a parade to lead. ~ the garlic queen of canada

    • Emie says:

      I live in Rochester, NY and I’ve been growing garlic for over 20 years. I’ve forgotten to plant it on occasion…. plant the garlic as soon as yo can work the soil… when you get to Buffalo or when Spring arrives. If you plant in spring you’ll still get garlic… the heads will just be smaller. Also.. I learned early on (from and old Italian man) to save the largest heads of garlic from your harvest. Keep it aside and use those heads to replant in the Fall…. if you do this your heads of garlic will keep getting larger. And, an added benefit, you don’t need to buy it each year to plant. Alexandra…. there’s a winery in the Finger Lakes that has a Garlic Festival every year… they sell many different varieties of garlic… I always get some to plant for the following year.
      HTH, Emie

      • Bonny says:

        Hi Emie, I saw your post on a “garlic” site and you mentioned about a Garlic Festival at a winery on the Finger Lakes. Could you send me the name of the winery/lake. Thanks, Bonny

    • brenda says:


      I live in Utah and have been planting garlic every year. One year I waited too long and the ground had froze. New years, there was a slight thaw, maybe you’ll get lucky. If you wait till spring, I have found the heads don’t get very big. Like Karen said keep in the basement, let the air flow. Keep in a paper bag, not in plastic. I eat my smaller cloves, sell some at a local farmer’s market and keep the biggest to plant. I grow mine in a zig zag pattern, still 4 inches apart; but you’ll get more in less space.

      Good luck,


  50. Marti says:

    So by “scape,” you mean the main body as opposed to the leaves. (I don’t know any of this technical garlic growing jargon, so accept my apologies in advance, please?)

    And if I wanted to grow elephant garlic, I could do it this way? I am so tempted to buy some just for planting a few cloves. That would be so incredibly cool!

    • Karen says:

      Marti – Take a look at the scapes I used in a flower arrangement this summer. It’ll give you an idea of what a scape is. Basically it’s the forming flower and attached stem of the garlic plant. ~ karen!

      • Steve Evans says:

        Hi Karen,

        I am trying to grow soft neck garlic and it doesn’t want to clove. It put up nice leaves and they stay all season, come June or July and I harvest I get one pretty large bulb with no cloves or indication any were started and several small bulbs about the size of a dime attached to the bottom. What is it I am not doing and need to do? Also, what about watering? I have read that after the leaves come to full height they no longer like to be watered. Any truth in that. I live in north central Florida.



        • Karen says:

          Hi Steve – I’m not completely familiar with southern garlic growing but it sounds like it just didn’t grow enough. I know that sounds stupid, but this could be due to a couple of things. Not a long enough growing season. Did you plant it in October or November? Not enough water. Or a fast, long hot spell that had the plant mature too fast. Did you wait to harvest it until the lower leaves went brown? ~ karen!

        • Steve Evans says:

          Hi Karen,

          Thanks for the prompt reply. I planted in mid Oct. and when I pulled the plant (which I thought was early) the leaves had all browned out and fallen. This is not the first time it’s happened though. They are planted in a 1/2 tub and I have no problems growing other plants in them. Watering could be an issue though, I sometimes do get lazy and forget to water but try to give them a good soaking at least once a week. I had read somewhere that garlic does not like much water after the leaves have reached maturity and I don’t know if that is true or not. I think I will put it in the ground again in Sept. and see what happens. I might even try planting the bulbs from this year (some I have not harvested yet). What about the bulblets that were attached to the large bulb?

          Thanks for taking the time to address my issue.


        • Karen says:

          Hi Steve – If I were you I’d start fresh with good garlic. See if you can buy some from an actual garlic farm. Not grocery store garlic, and not the bulbs you have now. For one thing the small bulbs you have now will produce small garlic. The bigger the clove you plant, the bigger the garlic you will get. That’s what I’d do anyway. Good luck! ~ karen!

        • Josh says:

          Garlic needs winter just like a tulip to form a cloved bulb

        • Kathleen says:

          Can we plant garlic that has growth, the top has some growth… a plant.
          Is that safe to grow???

          Thanks for any help, First timers with Garlic.


    • Karen says:

      Oh! And elephant garlic would be planted exactly the same, although a lot of cooks prefer to use regular silver skinned garlic because of the taste. ~ karen!

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