Skip to main content
​GARLIC PLANTING GUIDE - Organic Heirloom Gardens

​GARLIC PLANTING GUIDE - Organic Heirloom Gardens

Posted by Organic Heirloom Gardens on Sep 22nd 2018

  • Fall planting is recommended for most areas.
  • Spring planting can also be an option.
  • Garlic roots develop in the winter months when fall planted.
  • By spring roots can support the rapid leaf growth to form large bulbs.
  • Southern areas can also plant in the early spring.
  • Garlic likes well drained soil with plenty of compost mixed in. 
  • Full sun is needed for the biggest bulbs to develop.
  • Get a hard frost? Plant garlic early as 6 to 8 weeks before frost.
  • Plant garlic before ground freezes.
  • Planting time varies depending on location.
  • In northern climates, planting is usually September-November.
  • In southern areas, January-March is a better time to plant.
  • Addition of organic fertilizers mixed into the soil can be beneficial.
  • Choose largest cloves for planting.
  • Grocery store garlic can have disease and/or be treated. Do Not Plant.
  • Place cloves 3 to 6 inches apart and 2-4 inches deep
  • Plant cloves in upright position. Root side down, pointed side up.
  • Add compost and straw on top after planting.
  • Rows spaced 5 to 10 inches apart.
  • 2-6 rows in groups
  • Space row groups 18-24 inches.



  • Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size.
  • Fertilize garlic in the early spring. Compost and other natural fertilizers.
  • Fertilize again in May.
  • Weed thoroughly.
  • Keep Nitrogen levels high.
  • Water every 3 to 5 days late in season, starting in May. Slow watering as harvest approaches.
  • Use mulch and straw for overwintering in cold areas.
  • Remove mulch in spring when new growth appears.

Seed Garlic - Organic Heirloom Gardens


  • Garlic is known to keep pests away. It has very few diseases that will affect it.
  • White Rot is a fungus that attacks garlic, onions, and other plants in the same family. It happens in the cool months mostly. Rotate your garlic planting areas if this disease appears. It can live in the soil for several years. Till the soil up for sunlight exposure to help kill it.


  • Harvest is usually July-August. The sign to look for is yellowing and browning tops.
  • Take one or two bulbs out of the soil as a sample.
  • Dig plants with fork, do not pull unless your soil is VERY loose.
  • Leave yellow/brown top on the bulbs for drying. Put on rack or hang in bundles tied together. Low humidity, high air flow.
  • Once the bulbs dry you can cut off the remaining tops and roots. This will prepare them for storage or sale.
  • Store bulbs in cool, dry place. No basements, no refrigerators. 38-42 degrees is optimal but even higher temps will work.
  • Bulbs can be stored for 1 year and even longer in some cases with ideal conditions.