how to grow garlic

hardneck garlic bulbs

Hardneck garlic is the most winter-hardy type, so if you’re a garlic-growing beginner, you’ll most likely want to start with some variety of this type. Basically, the short garlic-growing story goes like this:

planting garlic

In October or November, break apart the bulbs and plant the cloves 4-6 inches apart in rows about a foot apart, 2-3 inches deep.

garlic shoot

Watch for them in spring – they’ll be first out of the soil!

garlic plants

Keep them weeded so the bulbs have room to grow as large as they can. Be watching for scapes, the long curly seed heads.

garlic scapes

When you see the scapes, cut them off and eat them. This will allow the bulbs to grow larger as well.

curing garlic

When the tops dry out, dig up the bulbs and put them somewhere hot and dry for two weeks. This curing will allow the bulbs to be stored for a longer period of time.


Enjoy your garlic! And don’t forget to save some of your very own homegrown garlic bulbs for planting the next batch!


I’ve put together a more detailed and informative pdf file with garlic growing instructions, if you’d like to take a look the link is below.

Growing Garlic SKG


4 Responses to how to grow garlic

  • Hi!

    Can garlic be grown in containers? Our soil floods with larger amounts of rain so our entire vegetable garden is done in containers 🙂

    Take care,

  • hi Kim,
    I’ve never tried to grow garlic in a container, but I think it might be tricky. It needs to be cold during the winter, but it can’t be too far below zero. If it’s in a container it doesn’t have the protection that the Earth would give it, so it would be more likely to freeze beyond what it can handle. That said, you could maybe try keeping garlic in the fridge all winter and planting it out in the early spring. Or putting it in the container in the fall, and then insulating from extreme cold by putting the container in a sheltered location and surrounding it with leaf piles or straw. If you try it let me know!

  • Hey Sarah:)
    We want to plant garlic this fall (the stuff from our neighbours was soooo good!). Where would you suggest buying the starter bulbs?

  • Hi Erin,
    You can buy the bulbs from the organic places at market, they should work just fine. I haven’t yet figured out the best place to order seed garlic! It’s on my list, though, because I’d like to try a few different varieties eventually. Just to compare….