Mavis Garden Blog – How to Plant Garlic


Since the weather has been getting a bit cooler lately I decided yesterday would be the perfect day to plant garlic bulbs.  The garlic won’t be ready to harvest until next summer, but for the Pacific Northwest area, now is the perfect time to plant.

If you have never planted garlic before it’s super easy.  You should be able to find certified garlic bulbs at most local nurseries as well as online this time of year, but stock may be limited.

To plant garlic, you’ll first break the bulb apart and inspect the cloves for any damage.  Then, plant the garlic about 2″ deep and about 6″ apart in loose, well drained soil.

Once you have your garlic lined up in pretty little OCD like rows, cover the garlic with soil.

Once the leaves begin to fall, I also like to cover my garlic patch with a couple inches of leaf litter as well to help insulate the bulbs from the cold.  I don’t know about you, but I use garlic practically every day in my cooking, so it’s really nice to be able to grow it in my backyard each year for a nice stash when I need it.

How to Plant Garlic

  • Plant cloves 6 to 8 weeks before a hard freeze so the roots have a chance to get established
  • Do not break cloves until you are ready to plant
  • Plant cloves 2″ deep with the root end down and the point side up
  • Space cloves 4″- 6″ apart {depending on size}

Will you be growing garlic this year?

How many bulbs do you usually by each year and when do YOU plant your garlic?


Looking for more information in growing, cultivating and enjoying garlic?  Check out the book The Complete Book of Garlic By Ted Jordan Meredith.  Amazon currently has it in stock and ready to ship.

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  1. Kathy says

    I don’t have room to plant living in an apartment but my sister does and she just planted garlic yesterday! We live in NE Ohio and our nights are getting pretty cool, they are predicting that dirty 4 letter S word in some areas this weekend.
    Anyway, she did it same as you. We are eagerly awaiting next year when we can harvest the garlic scape. I make a pretty mean garlic scape and basil pesto with hemp seed in place of pine nuts because I’m allergic to all tree nuts. First time planting garlic, will let you know how it goes for us.

  2. says

    We failed to plant any last year and we just ran out of our harvest from last year which means we have to buy it from the store. *sob* We are DEFINITELY planting this year. We just waited too long last year.

  3. Julie2 says

    So many times I come to your site, and you are giving advice for exactly what I need. My sister recently gave me 50+ garlic bulbs from her harvest with instructions to plant it by this weekend. This will be my first time trying garlic.
    As always, thanks for the inspiration.

  4. says

    I just planted some yesterday. However, I soaked mine in a solution of water (1 quart), liquid seaweed (1 tbsp), and baking soda (1 tbsp) for 2 hours before planting. Picked that tip up from an organic gardening website. It helps prevent fungal diseases and gives the garlic a boost of fertilizer.

    • says

      Also, you don’t want to peel the skin off the garlic like you would before cooking. I didn’t know this until I looked it up, but may be obvious to others. You want to leave the papery skin that surrounds the clove alone.

  5. Kim H says

    I’ve tried to grow garlic for two years. Apparently the squirrels like it – a lot. They ate every bit. Do you have any problems with critters enjoying your garlic before you do?

  6. Heather says

    Can you put these in pots verus the ground? I would love to grow garlic, but only have space in a pot… Would it get to cold up here in the PNW for them to thrive when not in ground insulated?

  7. says

    Last year was the first year I planted garlic, and I’m addicted now. Last year I planted Music, and this year I’m replanting that plus I bought a softneck variety at the farmers market. It’s still a little too warm here to plant them, but I may have to just do it anyway, it’s looking like we’re going to have HOT HOT HOT, FREEZE. At least my slow tomatoes have a little more time to turn red…

  8. says

    Mavis, in my place, we grow garlic by first cut the top of the clove before place them on the soil. help the leaf coming faster.

    btw, i love read your blog. so inspiring…

    greeting from Indonesia;

  9. Dawn says

    I live in the PNW, too, only on the COLD, get-lots-of-snow, side of the state. Can I grow garlic inside, in containers? I’m afraid if I plant outside this fall, all that will be left by Spring will be mulch. Does garlic grow in the winter wheat-belt?

    • Mavis Butterfield says

      I grew garlic in my east coast garden {and it snowed a lot}. Just add a few layers of mulch over the top after planting and it should be fine. I have never grown garlic indoors before.

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