Country Living Series

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Planting garlic

It was time to plant the 120 garlic cloves I put aside when I pulled up the garlic last week.

First thing I did was lay out all the cloves and arrange them so they would all fit in a rough pattern in the old boat I use for planting. Before planting, of course, I dug up all the weeds that had rooted over the summer.

Planting garlic is quick. Shove a trowel into the dirt...

...slip the clove into the hole, and let the dirt fall back on top. Took me fifteen minutes to plant all 120 cloves.

Next I needed to cover the garlic with mulch. So I raided the barn...

...and scraped together a wheelbarrow of old rotten hay.

One wheelbarrow covered about half the boat to a depth of about six inches.

A second wheelbarrow completed the bed.

And that's it for garlic for a whole year! Unlike last year when I didn't get the garlic planted until very late (after Thanksgiving!), planting garlic right now is just about perfect timing. I anticipate a much better crop next year as a result.


  1. *$*#! That you for reminding me about this! I would have completely forgotten! Time to plant the garlic!

  2. You can also take a piece of wooden lattice and plant a clove in each section and then remove the lattice before covering with your mulch. Each hole in the lattice gives you a perfect distance between your cloves.

    I love your use of the old boat. My neighbor has one that he uses for a worm bed. A volunteer butternut squash plant came up in it this past year. That vine was 30 feet long in two directions and loaded with squash.

  3. I just sat down for a break after planting our garlic for the year, funny to see your post on planting garlic. I didn't know I should cover the garlic for the winter, thanks for the tip. I will have to use leaves as we are not lucky enough to have a barn of hay.

  4. If you plant now in a raised bed will snow and freezing temperatures kill them? When are they ready to harvest if you plant now? I know tulips and dafadil bulbs are to be planted now and garlic is a bulb, will it be ready in the spring? How do you water them or do you just let them do their thing? Just a few questions for a new garlic growing wife and mommy of two little ones. Sincerely, Mommy of two little blessings & so much more!

  5. Won't the squirrels dig them up? My mom planted 120 tulip bulbs and one squirrel dug them up ate them and replaced them with walnuts. Strangely he didn't taste like walnuts when i ate him.

  6. Thank you for the reminder, I need to put mine in the ground too!

  7. I planted 36 cloves nearly a month ago and only ONE has come up. It's strange; all my winter onions are looking great.
    Good luck!

  8. Answering some questions...

    - We don't have squirrel problems here, we have chipmunk problems. But no, for some reason they don't bother the garlic.

    - Snow and freezing temps don't seem to bother the garlic. We've grown it for several years quite successfully. But covering the planted garlic with a thick layer of mulch seems to be necessary.

    - All garlic is (or should be) planted in the fall, just like other bulbs. I harvested my garlic just last week, so essentially it takes a year to grow.

    - The garlic is ready to harvest when the green stems become dry and brittle. Yes, you water garlic through the dry months just as you would any other garden plants.

    - I didn't know this before, but cutting off the scapes (flowering seed heads) GREATLY increases the size of the garlic cloves, since the plant redirects its energy into the cloves instead of the seeds. (A reader pointed this out; I can't take credit for the idea but I CAN attest that it works!)

    - Patrice

  9. We use garlic salt like in everything. Have you ever tried to make garlic powder/garlic salt with your cloves? Not sure how to do it myself, but was curious.

  10. Perfect timing. I forgot to order garlic bulbs online - so I bought 4 huge garlic bulbs in the organic section of the grocery store yesterday. Hopefully, it'll work. Kids just finished cleaning up the summer garden beds for a little extra moola - so a little work, and mine will be in the ground soon.

  11. Patrice, enjoy your blog, read often. I raise great hardtop garlic. Maybe an onion sack full each year. My newly planted bulbs are 6-8" tall already. The bulbs are dug when 3-4 outer leaves have turned brown. Each leaf represents the covering/layer that holds the garlic (cloves) bulb together. The bulbs will come out of the dirt fairly clean & white. Wanted to send you a picture, but couldn't figure how. Good luck with next years crop.