How to grow garlic

Updated April 11, 2013, 10:42 am betterhomesgardens


Garlic is one the easiest crops that you can grow. If ever there was a case of plant and forget, then garlic is it.

And it's just as easy to grow in pots as it is in the ground. So read on for our step-by-step guide to planting your own organic, super-tasty garlic. You'll be enjoying superb home-grown flavour in no time.

Here's How

STEP 1: Gently separate your bulbs into individual cloves.

STEP 2: Dig a small hole for each clove. TIP: Prepare your soil in advance by adding quality compost or manure.

STEP 3: Plant about 8cm deep with the pointy end up, then gently back-fill around the clove and cover the hole with mulch.

STEP 4: In as little as 2 weeks the first shoots will appear.

STEP 5: When the foliage starts to die back, harvest. You can leave a few in the ground for a second season. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place and they'll last up to 8 months. You can even split up a bulb next season and start again.

How to grow garlic

Timing: For the best bulbs of garlic, plant at the right time. The rule of thumb is to plant close to the autumn equinox, about 20 March, or when the days start shortening and the nights become cooler.

Position: Like most bulbs, a full sun position gives the best results.

Soil: Free-draining fertile soil that's been improved with manure or compost before planting is ideal. In pots, use a quality potting mix.

Fertilising: At planting time, add a slow-release fertiliser and liquid feed across the growing season.

Water: Garlic is quite tolerant of dry conditions but suffers if it remains dry for extended periods. Keep it reliably moist, but not wet.

Where do I get good growing stock?

We've all had garlic shoot off in the pantry. Can you grow it? Yes. But it may not be the best variety and may have been sprayed. New bulbs are clones of the old, so if the garlic you select tastes bland, then it's not going to improve with growing.

Visit an organic greengrocer and buy a few different varieties of garlic. Taste them and plant the ones you like the most.

Mail-order seed and plant supply companies, such as Diggers, carry a wide range of garlic. They have varieties suitable for growing in most areas.

Your local garden centre may stock garlic or be able to order it for you from early autumn.

Click here to find out more about growing garlic

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  1. Maurice02:14am Sunday 22nd September 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    All days are 24 hours long! It's the nights that are either longer or shorter!

    1 Reply
  2. Jennifer03:41am Friday 31st May 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    While reading the instructions for when to plant garlic, the dates / time of year didn't jive until I realized that the post originated in Oz, LOL. Totally opposite to seasons in Canada. Thanks for tips though. Autumn planting and spring, early summer harvest.

  3. Krisy07:01pm Sunday 28th April 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I have two Daughters one Born 21st June (shortest day of the year) , and the other 22nd December (Longest day of the year) I will never forget which days to plant and harvest my garlic.

  4. resty02:25pm Thursday 31st January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    I have been planting my garlic and ginger on large containers. i still have garlic and ginger outside ready to harvest..

    1 Reply
  5. Syb08:33pm Thursday 21st June 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    yes i want to know how to grow ginger as well .. i eat loads of it .. and it can be quite expensive at times .. i try to plant my garlic by about aprill .. but the first year i grew it i was told shortest day and longest too .. this year i managed to get it planted 2 day earlier than that lol .. but rest assured i will still have lovely garlic by next year .. :)

  6. Graham04:20pm Thursday 21st June 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    I wondered what I was going to learn to grow, as the picture on the main ad, was a picture of GINGER. I would be interested in growing ginger as well as garlic. I will start with the garlic and await further instructions for the ginger. Thanks Lyn

  7. Mitch02:12pm Sunday 27th May 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    my garlic breath smells good

  8. Katherine Forskine10:35am Friday 13th April 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    thanks! getting my pagan gardening gloves on

  9. 12:03pm Saturday 03rd March 2012 ESTReport Abuse

    I have alredy put garlic in plant and seed put plants in late feb and seeds in about a week later

  10. 1ily08:48am Saturday 05th November 2011 ESTReport Abuse

    plant on shortest day, harvest on longest, merely a rule of thumb, if not fat enough on longest day, well just leave longer. Shortest and longest means the same north or south, just different times of year, Easy!


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