Planting Garlic


This past Sunday, I finally managed to find a  couple of hours to put the garden to bed for the winter, and my timing couldn’t have been better. Temperatures the last couple of days haven’t climbed out of the thirties and there’s a definite winter bite in the air. After pulling up the last of the Swiss chard, red cabbage, and carrots and doing some general housekeeping in the strawberry bed, I decided to plant some garlic.

Long ago a friend told me how easy it was to plant garlic, but it took me years to actually get around to trying it. When I planted garlic with my oldest (above) a couple of years ago, we used organic garlic I purchased at a local farmers’ market. It worked great! From one lovely head of garlic we grew 6 new heads with ease.

But I had read somewhere that you should really use garlic from a local garden center, as garden centers will carry only varieties that are hardy to your growing zone, so that’s what I did this time. (Although I’m guessing that garlic I bought at the farmers’ market was most likely local as well, no?) I planted a few different varieties so we can do a little taste and see which ones we like best.


I started by digging holes, 6 inches deep and about 6 inches apart, one for each clove.


Then I separated each of the heads of garlic into individual cloves. From this point on, planting garlic is very much like planting tulip bulbs; simply place each clove root-side down (and pointy side up) into each hole.


The rest is easy…cover with dirt, pat down the soil, and give the cloves one last drink before saying goodbye for the winter.

Then, the next spring, with a little watering…you will have a a sturdy row of very healthy-looking garlic plants…


That will grow into lovely heads of garlic within a couple of months! So if you have time before the ground freezes, I encourage you to give it a try…for minimal effort and cost, you can easily grow garlic just like this in your own garden.

Now for a little teaser…this is one of many fun and easy projects that will be included in my upcoming book, Dig In! 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps, due to hit shelves in the spring. Until then, check out some of the winter projects in The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book!


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