How To Plant Garlic Step-By-Step

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Oh my gosh, have you ever had the chance to plant garlic? Once you grow garlic there is no going back to buying garlic at the stores. It tastes so much better and is so easy to grow, anyone can do it. Did you know that within those garlic bulbs is a chemical called allicin? That’s where the aroma comes from. I bet you can almost smell the garlic, right?

I’m updating this post because a dear reader and friend, Jackie P., sent me some of her homegrown garlic. I am beyond honored to receive these Transylvania soft neck garlic bulbs and these Music hard neck garlic bulbs. I can’t wait to plant some of them, and of course, use them in many meals now and in the future! Thank you, Jackie!

This is what Jackie told me, “We grew about 200 bulbs this year. I ordered a new heirloom, Old German, and it will be delivered this fall. We plant before the first frost. It lies dormant over the winter. Pops up in the spring. Plant cloves 2 inches down, 5 inches apart. Cover with 5 inches straw.

Leave the straw on it in the spring. If you have a drought it will keep moisture in there. Dig up carefully the last week of June. If a prediction of lots of rain is coming, dig it up right before that. Sitting in water destroys outer skins and makes it hard to dig up.”

I quote Wikipedia, “When fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, the enzyme alliinase converts alliin into allicin, which is responsible for the aroma of fresh garlic. The allicin generated is unstable and quickly changes into a series of other sulfur-containing compounds, such as diallyl disulfide.”

Mark and I are rarely sick, and I’m sure it has to do with the amount of garlic we put in our meals. I make a garlic soup to take to people who are sick to help ward off severe colds and flu. When you feel that scratchy throat feeling, you may want to make this soup. I’m not saying it will cure a cold, but the warm soup may help clean out the gunk in your throat and sinuses. My recipe is at the bottom of this post.

In case you missed this post, Garlic: Everything You Need To Know

Norpro Large Garlic Baker

How To Plant Garlic

How To Plant Garlic

Buying Seed Garlic

My favorite place to order seed garlic: Non-Gmo Organic Seeds Be prepared for sticker shock when you see the prices of seed garlic. Just remember, after the first investment, you can save some of the larger bulbs for seed next year. If you plan correctly, you will always have seeds to plant year after year. Just buy right the first time.

Two Categories of Garlic

Hardneck Garlic

Hard Neck Garlic

This type of garlic will have flowers (scape) a few weeks before the bulb is ready to harvest. The scape is the bud of the garlic and is edible. You want to remove the flowers (scape) to allow the plant to devote its energy to grow a larger bulb. This one is perfect for cold climate areas. You may want to check your Zone for planting, they are good to grow up to about Zone 6. Check Your Zone

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You will get two harvests if you plant them at the right time. I like to order the seed garlic online to get the very best ones to plant. If you have a good local nursery they may have the seeds that work for your climate. Hardnecks don’t store as long as soft necks, so go ahead and eat them within 3-6 months. The skins come off easier than the soft neck varieties.

Softneck Garlic

Soft Neck Garlic

This variety typically is what you find in the grocery stores. It usually comes from California and Mexico, or another warm-climate area. The bulb has a mild flavor.  This one braids really easily and makes a great gift for friends and family when braided. While reading this post, Mark asked me what braiding meant and why people would do that. I told him that if you braid the garlic after it’s harvested it tends to last longer than if you put it in a bag for storage. For those who love to garden, it’s also a way to “dress up” the garden and make it more aesthetically pleasing. If you want to learn more, put braiding garlic in your browser and read all about it. Check Your Zone

When to Plant Garlic

The best time to plant garlic is in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before your very first frost. Here in Southern Utah, our planting date is the middle of October. I’m in Zone 8A. Please check your Zone for planting times. This is when I really wish I had a Green House. I would love to plant year-round. We usually harvest in June.

Fall Planting

Plant garlic cloves in mid-fall in a sunny location in dark loamy soil, remove any visible rocks. After you separate the garlic bulb into cloves, plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down. Put down 6 inches of mulch for winter protection.

The plants will go dormant naturally over the winter and the mulch helps keep the soil temperatures alternating from freezing and thawing. Once the ground freezes add another layer of mulch. The goal of planting in the fall is to give the bulbs a head start by sending out roots. Once the soil starts to warm in the spring the plants start growing again. Note that garlic grows best when it can receive six full hours of full sun each day.

Spring Planting

Plant garlic cloves as early in spring as you can when your soil can be worked about the same time as you plant onion sets. After you separate the garlic bulb into cloves, plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down. Note that garlic grows best when it can receive six full hours of full sun each day.

Where to Plant Garlic

Please choose a spot in your garden or raised garden bed where garlic or onion has not been planted before. Garlic takes very little space in the garden. Make sure the water will drain from the plants, they don’t like standing water, which may cause disease and rotting to occur. The soil must be fertile, and like I said, well-drained. Work your compost into the soil and the best fertilizer has a 10-10-10 composition.

Plant Garlic

Please don’t let the soil get too much water, they need to be watered, but not too much water. The soil must not be constantly wet. Be sure to prepare your soil with some good organic soil. You may want to look at my post on Replenishing Your Soil.

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As menetioned above, after you separate the garlic into cloves plant one clove 4-6 inches apart and about 1-2 inches into the ground with rows about 2 feet apart. Water the soil after planting if the soil is dry to the touch. Plant the pointed end up and the blunt end down.

Plant Garlic

When you plant garlic you can usually harvest your garlic bulbs in 6-9 months, depending on the variety you choose to plant.

Garlic Harvest and Storage

Plant Garlic

You will know when the garlic is ready to harvest when most of the leaves have turned brown. You may want to set aside some of the largest bulbs for next years planting. Each bulb typically has 5-10 cloves.

Plant Garlic

Please remove the dirty soiled skins and cut the tops off at 1-2 inches above the garlic bulbs and store the loose bulbs in a dry, cool, breezy place in baskets. If you want to braid the stems and hang them on strings, please bend the stem over about 2-inches above the ground to dry the stems before braiding.

Plant Garlic

Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

5 from 1 vote
chicken noodle soup
Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 10 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Author: Linda Loosli
  • 2 cans of chicken (12.5 ounces each drained or substitute 2 cups of cooked chicken)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base or substitute equal amounts of water with chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup freeze-dried onions or 1 fresh onion chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 cup dry dehydrated carrots or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh carrots
  • 3/4 cup dry freeze dried celery or 1-1/2 cups diced fresh celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 package Grandma’s frozen egg noodles (11-ounces cooked and separated as directed or boil your pasta of choice)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup undiluted – optional
  • 1 bulb fresh garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours, BUT add the Grandma’s Noodle the last two hours or they will be mushy. Enjoy!

Final Word

Let me know when you plant garlic in your area, and how you store it? Please tell me the favorite garlic variety you like to plant. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world.

Growing Spinach by Linda

My Favorite Things

Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite

24 thoughts on “How To Plant Garlic Step-By-Step

  • October 17, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Several years ago I started planting my own garlic (when I had a large garden). Now I raise garlic in a 5 gallon bucket on my deck! When I first learned “how” to grow garlic, the man I received my “seed” from suggested using a 3/4″ to 1″ dowel rod with a line to indicate how deep to plant. It was so easy to make the holes for the bulbs. He also suggested I put a teaspoon of bulb food in the bottom.

    I did the above and was AMAZED at how large the heads of garlic were – it almost looked like the size of elephant garlic they were so big.

    I love using the scapes for stir-fries. I have also chopped and frozen scapes for use in soups and stews later on.

    • October 17, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Leanne, oh my gosh, I have got to try the 3/4″ to 1″ dowel rod!! I will try the bulb food in the hole next time, I love it! Thanks for this awesome tip!!! Linda

  • October 18, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I’m flummoxed about the “dry, cool, BREEZY place to store the garlic. The only breezy places I can think of would be out in the open. Even the garage doesn’t get breezy. Help!

    • October 18, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Hi Laura, maybe I should have said “airy” place to store the garlic bulbs. The basket gives it a little “breeze” or “air”, sorry about the confusion. Once you start growing garlic, you will never buy it again. Actually, everytime you open the garage it lets fresh air in, it’s not like we will put them in the wind, I hope this helps. Thanks for your patience, Linda

  • October 31, 2018 at 6:30 am


    Did you know that within those garlic bulbs is a chemical called allicin? That’s where the aroma comes from. I bet you can almost smell the garlic, right?

    Garlic and other members of the Allium family that includes Onions, shallots, scallions and leeks all contain a bit of Allicin, with garlic being the most potent. I discovered this a few years ago when we were gifted our first fresh garlic by a friend, and did some research on it when one of our cats tried his best to get to the garlic, which it turns out is toxic to cats and dogs, with as little as one clove being a serious risk.
    We ended up tying strings to the plants and hanging them in our granary, where they dried up nicely

    Mark and I are rarely sick and I’m sure it has to do with the amount of garlic we put in our meals each day. I make a garlic soup to take to people who are sick to ward off severe colds and flu. When you feel that scratchy throat feeling, you may want to make this soup. I’m not saying it will cure a cold, but the warm soup may clean out the gunk in your throat and sinuses. My recipe is at the bottom of this post.

    The wife and I are also rarely ill and the garlic and onions may help; but, getting my several pneumonia inoculations and our yearly influenza vaccinations is I think, also necessary. I think I may try your recipe, since it does sound pretty good.
    We also love the garlic scapes. Chopped and baked/roasted on a cookie sheet with Olive Oil & Asparagus is one of our favorites.

    The best time to plant garlic is in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before your very first frost. Here in Southern Utah, our planting date is the middle of October.
    We usually harvest in June.

    Here the rule of thumb is that we plant on October 10th and Harvest on the 4th of July. I missed the date due to activities and weather, so we’re going to try in 5-gallon buckets in the green house and cross our fingers.

    Garlic Harvest and Storage

    You mention baskets, and after trying a lot of things and recently purchasing a ton of candy onions from the local Amish produce auction, I needed a good way to store them. In the past we’ve reused the mesh bags we get with citrus; but, these were all getting rather ragged, so I made a lifetime investment in ”Royal Green Plastic Mesh Produce and Seafood, 24″, Package of 100” for around $16.00 from Amazon with free Prime shipping. I’ve already handed out a bunch of these to friends who garden and share with me. Package/dp/B017HJRZ9K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540988724&sr=8-1&keywords=Royal+Green+Plastic+Mesh+Produce+and+Seafood%2C+24%22%2C+Package+of+100&dpID=51dpsEH%252Bw0L&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
    Sometimes a small investment helps a lot and weaving the garlic together might be a nice art project; but, takes too much time we can use elsewhere on the homestead.

  • December 12, 2019 at 10:00 am

    5 stars
    Hi Linda. I have been growing the same Italian red, hard-necked garlic for about 50 (?) years from the initial head of cloves. I plant them all over my property. Nothing eats them.
    Most of all I nip the seed that will come out the top like a spike until it opens. Clip that off as soon as you see it and you will get a bigger head. Leave some to go to seed and always leave some heads in the ground to regrow, next year. The one’s you left to go to seed with sprout a head of tiny cloves. These can also be planted but it will take two years for them to get to a decent size. therefore it is best to start with the biggest cloves you can get for the ones you will be uprooting for use. The ones you left with regrow next year.
    I have given hundreds of heads of garlic to people for years. I also sold a lot at Farmer’s markets. The initial head of garlic i had growing from California to Montana. If you have good soil you can grow garlic. Poor soil and not enough water will lead to small heads. All you need is soil, water and feed. 2″ apart and 2″ deep. I have had garlic cloves sit on top of the soil in -0 temperatures and they survive anything. When you think of that it makes sense that when you consume garlic regularly it will help to keep you well. I am never sick. I do not get colds or flu. I say it is because I grow most of my food and eat lots of onions and garlic. I have lots of garlic growing in my flower beds as well.
    If you don’t get it all out of the ground, and you shouldn’t, leave it and let it do it’s thing. Happy gardening.

    • December 12, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Hi Diane, oh my gosh you are an inspiration to all of us!! I love this comment!! Oh my gosh, why wouldn’t we plant garlic? Linda

      • December 12, 2019 at 10:56 am

        You, my dear Linda are the inspiration. This forum you have set up for all of us to learn from you and others is a wonderful thing. Indeed, a gift to us all from you. Thank you. Thank you just for being.

        • December 12, 2019 at 12:44 pm

          Hi Diane, you made my day!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Linda

  • August 23, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Hi Linda! I was glad to see this post. We grow garlic and also are never sick! I hadn’t thought about that until I read this and just wonder if it’s the garlic or living a good life in general. Ha! We also love onions so the husband is happy when I’m sautéing garlic and onions because he know he will like whatever I make with them. We dry ours under our deck; hang them up and they dry pretty well in the Kansas heat. We can walk under our deck, so also hang onions there to dry out too.

    • August 23, 2021 at 9:24 am

      Hi Paula, oh I can almost picture your onions and garlic hanging! I love onions and garlic! I think living a good life and a happy life keeps of well too! Linda

  • August 23, 2021 at 9:37 am

    One of the things that helps give your garlic a head start is to soak your bulbs overnight ant then plant as usual. . I have grown garlic for years in the same pots that I grow my potatoes to keep out the mice and voles that like to eat them. Using the bulb food in every planting hole is a good idea.

    • August 23, 2021 at 10:08 am

      Hi Cheryl, oh I like hearing this tip! I will try planting mine in my potato pots, great idea! Love this, Linda

  • August 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Linda! I grow Music also! It’s my favorite, especially for fermented or black garlic (yep, I even invested in a special garlic-fermenting pot–it sits for 2-week periods doing its thing, time to load it now). Music garlic comes out chewy and sweet–I call them my healthy gumdrops. And no garlic breath, either.

    For storage–I found the plain garlic heads just wouldn’t store well for me, more than a couple months. So I “pickle” garlic for long-term storage. Separate and peel the cloves, pack them into canning jars (I use either 1/2 or 1 cup jelly jars) and fill up with very hot white vinegar, enough to cover the cloves. Adjust lids and allow to cool (metal lids can be affected by the vinegar, so I use the Tattler lids/rubbers). They seem to last well over a year in the pantry; can also be refrigerated. When you need some, pull out the cloves you want, rinse well, and carry on–there will be no vinegar taste!

    I’m another fan of the scapes, either in soups/stews/stir-fry or just sautéed in butter. If a flower head does get by, those tiny seed-cloves can be rubbed loose from the head, any dry matter blown away, and the garlic “seeds” simply dropped into soup or stew.

    Another after-harvest treat is roasted garlic. Take a big head of garlic per person–slice off the top so a little of the clove is exposed (no peeling needed otherwise except to remove any dirt). Set the heads on their root ends in a baking dish and pour a little olive oil on top of each one. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they’re soft. Just squeeze the softened garlic out, spread on warm bread, meat, veggies–or just eat it! (You can also use peeled cloves–toss in olive oil, spread in a baking dish, and bake as above–check and stir after 10 min. or so.)

    Oh, and the little planting “dibble”… I’m lazy, I just use my finger, it’s about the right length!

    • August 23, 2021 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Rhonda, oh my gosh, I want to pickle some garlic now! YUMMY! Garlic gumdrops, I need to make those! I love baked garlic, wow, life is good with garlic! Linda

  • August 23, 2021 at 7:29 pm

    Please tell us what bulb food is.

    • August 23, 2021 at 7:56 pm

      Hi Melissa, it is fertilizer, I use 10-10-10 fertilizer from any garden center. Linda

  • August 24, 2021 at 6:30 am

    I have wild Garlic growing in my yard. You should smell it when the grass is mowed. It smells like a big
    salad. I also have wild onions growing too.

    • August 24, 2021 at 7:25 am

      Hi June, oh my gosh, what a blessing to have wild onions and wild garlic growing! I can almost smell them right now!!!!! Linda

  • August 24, 2021 at 8:17 am


    I grow Purple Queen softneck garlic in my low hoop houses. Since I’m in 8b I usually plant around the end of October. My hoop houses are usually covered with plastic during winter (well, sometimes–our winters are so mild they sometimes don’t get covered). Garlic is a great companion plant (NOT for peas or beans) so I interplant my garlic with broccoli. The garlic repels aphids and other pests and enhances the flavor of the broccoli. I usually don’t braid it when I harvest–just let it dry in a wicker basket. Then I store the bulbs we’re going to eat in mason jars in my pantry. I store the bulbs I’m going to use for the next year’s planting in my refrigerator’s veggie drawer. It usually lasts us until the next planting. I’ve never tried bulb food but I will this year. Also, I usually plant my bulbs 4″ deep and use a 2″ layer of small bark chips for mulch. Harvest time is most often mid-July, though I have planted in late September and harvested in June. I’ve found that even if the bulbs put up shoots, our winters are so mild they aren’t harmed. If it looks like we’ll get a hard freeze I cover them. But the broccoli grows all winter long and usually the garlic does too. Scapes are the BEST in stir fries.

    Thank you for the soup recipe. I’ll try that one for sure, using fresh garden grown veggies.

    • August 24, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Hi Ray, making soup with homegrown veggies is the best. I’m hoping to plant these garlic bulbs in our new location. I will try planting some 4 inches deep, I love garlic, this is so awesome! I will look for purple Queen garlic, I love trying different things. I will store some in my pantry like you mentioned and in the veggie drawer. Thank you!! Linda


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