How to Grow Garlic

Did you know that one clove or bulb of garlic, when planted, can produce up to an additional twenty cloves? So instead of tossing out your garlic that’s started to sprout, plant it instead!

Simply plant garlic cloves individually. If they’ve started to sprout, even better! Otherwise plant them with the pointy end up. Make sure they are in a sunny location and soil isn’t too damp. You can plant multiple cloves four inches apart either in your yard or in a pot. It will fair well even if planted among other flowers or vegetables.

Then just sit back and wait for your garlic to grow. If it’s potted, water it occasionally but don’t drown it. As your garlic grows, it will sprout leaves. Once the leaves turn brown and die, it’s time to harvest your garlic. (Don’t harvest any earlier or your cloves will be too small!)

Once you harvest your garlic, hang the bulbs in a cool, dry location to dry them and prevent rot. Your garlic should dry in about a week, at which time you can simply brush off the dirt and start cooking with the cloves or plant some more!

The handmade pottery pot photographed above that I used for planting my garlic bulb was purchased from Roanoke Pottery Works on the Roanoke City Market. These little pots are great for growing all kinds of things, especially if you’re limited on space. Because these handmade pots have handles, they are great for tying to lattice work or a trellis and building an herb garden upward instead of outward. Or hang them from a porch ceiling!

Comments

  1. This is soooooo awesome! I’ve heard you can do this but I had no idea how easy it was. I’m totally going to try it out, thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow – you mak eit sound so easy. Found this on Tip Junky link party. As a new gardener I’m excited to follow you and learn all of your advice!

  3. This is brilliant. I had no idea. My sister sent me this link and now I love her even more :) Love the pretty pottery. Thanks!

  4. That pot wasn’t too small for the bulb and roots?

  5. what do you mean by not planting too early? I read somewhere that we have to plant garlic in fall. If I plant it in June in Utah, would it work?

    • It says not to HARVEST it too early. You need to wait to harvest it until the leaves turn brown and die.

  6. I live in WV in Zone 5 and we plant it in the fall, and don’t pay attention to it for months. Right now in June it’s taller than my waist. It’s made with the best cloves I’ve ever seen anywhere, though, so it’s quite big. Also, when it sends up the scape – which is to become the flower, allow it to curl twice, then break it off. This will tell the bulb to finish formation. Pick it once there are around three dead leaves at the bottom.

  7. About how long did this process take from start to finish?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Do you peel the clove first? Or leave the skin on? Does it matter?

    • Kelley Casey says:

      I don’t think it matters but I usually take the skin off. I would try it with one of each just to see which grows better….Best of luck to you!!! :)

  9. i got told its best to plant in Auturm for the spring as the bulb needs frost so it splits into cloves?

    • Charline says:

      I live in Quebec, Canada. I plant mine in the Fall and they’re ready end of July. The first time I bought some bulbs through a distributor and was asked if I wanted Fall or Spring bulbs. Apparently, there’s a difference. Now I use bulbs from one crop to the next. Enjoy. Oh, and the flowers (garlic slakes) are really good too.

  10. A clove or a bulb?

  11. Definitely going to try this! Love having fresh grown foods!!

  12. Yay. Something to put next to my green onions. I love easy gardening :). Thx!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the idea!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think you’ll have much success in such a small pot – garlic plants grow very tall (mine are almost 4 feet right now, and I’m in a cold climate), and have a deep root system. Most garlic needs at least three weeks of freezing weather just after it’s planted in order to form a bulb. Also, a lot of grocery store garlic is grown in China, so the variety might not be suitable for your climate. Garlic is super easy to grow, but it needs a lot of space, a decent cool spell (for most varieties) and a lot of patience (almost a year). This video has some excellent advice – the garlic comes in toward the second half: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaeEiN_t954

    If you do have limited space, you can grow garlic greens. Do exactly what the photos above say, only you can put lots of cloves in the same pot. As they grow, snip the leaves and use them like the green parts of green onions. They’re similar, only more garlicky, obviously. You won’t get more cloves, but you’ll get delicious green garlic that you can’t buy in stores.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I can’t even tell you how much garlic I have thrown out in the last few months! I’m kicking myself now!!!!

  16. Ed Scerbo says:

    There’s no reason whatsoever to throw garlic out just because it sprouted. You can still eat it — including the sprouts. As someone posted above, some people actually grow garlic for the greens.

    I planted garlic in the Spring and had no problem even though there was obviously no frost. I don’t think it matters much when you plant it. You don’t need to and probably should not peel the cloves before planting. It was from the supermarket — probably from China or Argentina. Don’t ask me why it isn’t American grown.

    • There is a lot of garlic grown in Gilroy, California and I believe that is where the western US gets the majority of its garlic. Christopher Farms is one that is marketed quite extensively. Look for it if you want U.S. garlic.

  17. Anonymous says:

    So what is the best soil to buy? I have never planted a thing a day in my life so this should be interesting for me! LOL How often do i water it?

  18. Garlic grows quite tall and as others have pointed out, it does best when planted in the fall and harvested the following July – especially in cooler climates. Scapes are cut off so they don’t drain energy from the still growing bulb. When the foliage is still two thirds green, dig your bulbs. If you wait too long, the bulbs will split their skins and not store as well. Of course, if you only plant a couple cloves, not all of this matters. :-)

  19. Cool! I’ll have to share this.

  20. Bad! It smelled bad.I hate auto correct.

  21. I’ve tried this.before I saw this pin, I planned a clove in a pot, it got rotten and smelled so basis just tossed the thing. Never tried it again.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Watered it too much. Try the ground and leave it.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Love this idea–found it on Pinterest and imagine my surprise to link to your page and find out that you are in Roanoke, where I grew up (I’m in Utah now). Thanks for the suggestion.

  24. I just planned two I have a green thumb and grow a lot of stuff, I’m looking forward to growing my own garlic i go through it like crazy since I cook so much.

  25. You won’t get a full head of garlic by planting it in such a small pot. I grow garlic each year and they grow really tall.

    Also you need to plant them in the fall and let them die back in the winter.

  26. I’m trying this right now, and it’s been pretty awesome so far. I planted it about 5 days ago and it’s already grown from just a teeny, tiny sprout to being about 5 inches tall – it’s crazy how fast it’s growing! I’ve planted mine in a pot in our kitchen since we live in norther NY and it’s already cold and snowy up here. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Thanks so much for posting this!

  27. Just wanted to add, don’t plant them indoors, from what I understand garlic needs to go through quite a few days below freezing to form a bulb. Else it just grows greens.

  28. You can force these to grow like any other bulb by placing in your fridge or freezer for a short duration.

  29. Can you plant them in pots and leave the pots out doors thru the winter will that still work? And being it is January 10 is it to late to do this? Located in DE.

  30. There’s another site I found that states you can plant indoors in pots, use the greens in your cooking, wait two months, dig it up and you’ll have twenty more garlic cloves. Google it.

  31. I have tried this a week back even before reading this,but was doubtful of the outcome, now I feel confident my experiment will be successful and my plants are also showing some encouraging signs. Thank you

  32. Can you plant them and KEEP them planted in doors?

  33. Linda Chladil says:

    I live in zone 3. Will it grow here?

  34. I planted mine this spring and they are really growing , but now i dont know what to do. When do I know it’s ready? and they how do I harvest it?

  35. In colder zones you have to use hard neck garlic to get good results. That’s zone 5 (where I am) and colder. (I’m not sure where the shift is, so you might want to look it up.) I planted garlic from the grocery store this year and it did virtually nothing, and that’s probably because they’re mostly soft neck garlics grown out in California. I don’t think you can raise this stuff indoors, but I could be mistaken. And while I agree that it grows quite tall, I’ve never noticed a deep root system.

    A note about the scapes: They’re good eating. Try them tossed with pasta, olive oil, and parmesan.

  36. Jardin Cavanagh says:

    I grow live in middle Quebec and have really cold winters. I grow anywhere from 800 to 1000 garlic a year . Protecting your garlic from frost is very important more than 20 days of frozen ground will really hurt your garlic I plant in the late fall after it has come up 3 or 4 inches I mulch and put a mini greenhouse to cover it also.
    I have grown garlic indoors also. What you need to do is 1 make sure you water from the bottom and you do need at least an 8″ pot that is quite deep.Natural light does work but you will get small bulbs use a florescent grow light. indoors you will never get a 2″ bulb unless you go hydro or aeroponic

  37. Will this be the same as what you would use for making pickles ?

  38. Can you use this method for growing celery?

  39. i live in the Caribbean, how well will the garlic grow down here?
    i am a small farmer and i like to grow herbs and vegetables, i have already tried growing onions and got some really good bulbs