How Does Garlic Grow

Today, you will learn how does garlic grows and everything else you need to know to grow them in your home. With only a few simple steps, you’ll be enjoying homegrown garlic with bountiful harvests.

How does garlic grow - Green garlic straws, growing from fresh, black mould

How to choose garlic for growing?

In general, there are two types of garlic to consider, softneck or hardneck. Which is the most suitable for your garden? Let’s have a look at the distinctions.

Softneck garlic, often known as “true” garlic, makes up most of what you’ll find in the grocery. The softneck garlic varieties are more productive, easier to grow and store longer, especially in hot conditions. There are two types of softneck garlic that you are likely to come across: Artichoke and Silverskins.

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Hardnecks, on the other hand, have stalks that stay upright and rigid even when they die back. If you reside in the right growth zone, the extra work of cultivating them could be well worth it if you want more diversity and depth of flavor and color, as well as larger bulb sizes. Hardnecks include three distinct varieties: Rocambole, Purple Striped Garlic, and Porcelain Garlic.

What is the best garlic for beginners to grow?

Softneck garlic matures faster than hardneck garlic and requires little effort to harvest scapes in the middle of the season. They can also be planted manually and have a longer shelf life, making them the best choice for commercial growth. Here are the great softneck garlic varieties to grow:

  • Albigensian Wight – From the south-west of France, this cultivar produces a lot of fruit and has huge bulbs.
  • Early Purple Wight – This variety produces purple-tinged bulbs with a moderate flavor. It harvests quite early, starting in mid-May, as its name suggests. Because it doesn’t store well, use it within three months.
  • Iberian Wight – Large bulbs with plump cloves characterize this Spanish variety. It stores well and is good for plaiting.
  • Solent Wight – It contains little bulbs with a powerful flavor that lasts for a long time.
  • Christo – This type yields huge bulbs and is dependable and easy to grow. It stores well and can be planted in the fall or spring.
Garlic plantation in the vegetable garden

What are the best soil conditions to grow garlic?

Garlic grows best on sandy loam that is well-drained and has a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. You can plant in elevated rows, raised beds (at least 12 inches deep), or even huge pots if your soil is clay and has drainage issues. Before you start planting, treat your soil with compost and fertilizer. However, it would help if you did not use fresh manure since it may contain hazardous microorganisms and increase weed problems.

How to plant garlic?

Unlike crops grown from seeds or plants, garlic is cultivated from single cloves, the same cloves used in cooking. Garlic grows best in full sun, so choose a location that gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day.

  • Choose cloves that are large, healthy, and disease-free. 
  • Break the cloves apart from the bulb a few days before planting, but leave the papery husk on each clove.
  • Plant cloves in an upright position, 4 to 8 inches apart and 2 inches deep
  • Rows should be 6 to 12 inches apart. Depending on the variety, a single 10-foot row should provide roughly 5 pounds of aromatic bulbs.

How to care for garlic?

Garlic is a low-maintenance vegetable. Water regularly in the spring and early summer but cut back once the foliage turns yellow, indicating that the bulbs have reached maturity—weed between the plants to prevent water and fertilizer competition. Because hoeing could harm the developing bulbs, it’s best to do it by hand. 

Hands in plastic gloves planting garlic seeds in a vegetables garden.

Growing tips

These tips will assist you in getting the most out of your harvest:

  • To concentrate energy in the bulb, remove scapes before blossoming. But don’t throw them away; sautéed or stir-fried, they’re excellent!
  • Use a thick mulch to keep bulbs cool during hot times and prevent early sprouting.
  • To prevent disturbing bulbs, use mulch to keep weeds at bay and hand weed between plants.
  • Bulbs are ready to harvest after about half of the lower leaves have yellowed, wilted, and died.

How Does Garlic Grow

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