Grow Great Garlic at Home

by Green Hills Farm

Hand planting garlic in the vegetable garden. Spring gardening.

GROW

Garlic is easy to grow at home. We grow ours in raised beds with excellent drainage and well-prepared, garlic friendly soil. However, a pot on your terrace or a sunny corner of your veggie patch can do just as well.

When to plant

We plant in late April, about 4-6 weeks before heavy frosts arrive in our area. Early autumn planting gives our garlic time to get well established before winter.

Top tip: Watch the weather carefully and aim to plant a week or a few days before rain is expected. When the rain does arrive, it’ll help your freshly planted garlic settle in.

Choosing bulbs

Preparing the soil

Planting

Protecting and feeding

How to harvest and dry garlic

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HARVEST

Garlic is simple to cure or dry for long-term storage. In most climates, curing garlic takes about a month. Once it’s dried, garlic will last for six months or more if stored correctly.

Harvesting

Garlic is harvest-ready in around eight months. Around November, outer leaves start to die away. When three or four green leaves remain, it’s time to harvest.

 

Gently shift a bit of surface soil and check for classic doughnut-shaped bulbs with clearly visible cloves. Watch the weather and aim to harvest after several dry days. If your bulbs resist being pulled up by the stem, lift them with a garden fork.

 

Top Tip: If you’re curing (drying) your crop, prepare the storage space before you harvest. Ideally, it will be well ventilated with indirect sunlight. Wooden crates and shelving racks make great drying surfaces.

Drying

Trimming & Dusting

How to store garlic successfully

Image by Ramón Salinero

STORE

Dry garlic will last through winter into spring if you treat it right. Here’s how to do that.

Choose the right containers

Use sturdy paper bags or woven baskets like those you’d use to store potatoes and onions.

Braided garlic or loose cloves look classy and live happily in a wire mesh basket or an open bowl on your kitchen bench.

Keep it cool

Things to avoid

Fridges and freezers