How to Grow Garlic

Garlic likes loose, well-drained soil and does well in raised beds. Each individual clove will grow into a head of garlic in one growing season; plant large cloves to get the largest heads next year.

Plant garlic in the fall, usually during the last half of October or early November. Place the cloves about 3 inches deep in loose soil with the root end down and “pointy” end up, leaving about 6 inches between plants. Lightly pack the soil above the planted garlic cloves.

After all your cloves are planted, mulch your garlic bed with 4-6 inches of straw or chopped leaves. During the winter the cloves will establish deep roots and be ready to sprout early next spring, often through the snow. The plants rapidly develop leaves and will need about an inch of water a week until late June.

Hardneck garlics will send up a scape, like a flower stalk, in May or early June. Cut the scape off once it has formed a circle. It should still be tender and is fully edible, stem to stern. Enjoy it chopped in stir-fries or raw in salads.

Garlic heads are ready to harvest in July when half the leaves have turned brown. Dig carefully under the head of garlic to break its roots (do not try to pull it up by the leaves) and lift it from the garden bed, keeping it out of direct sunlight.

Harvested garlic can be cleaned and eaten immediately after harvest (called fresh garlic or wet garlic) or hung in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and with good air circulation, to thoroughly cure.

Dried garlic is usually ready to be cleaned in 3-4 weeks, which is done by trimming the roots and stem and removing the outer layer of paper wrappers. It can then be stored in a cool, dry space for several months.

Dick and Diana Dyer – Your Local Garlic Growers
Dick’s “Pretty Good!” Garlic at
The Dyer Family Organic Farm, Ann Arbor, MI
“Shaping our future from the ground up”