Growing garlic

by Decor&Dine
Growing our first garlic, should we wait until the leaves are drying out before we pick it? Husband picked first one today along with our first potatoes.
  73 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jul 22, 2013
    Margaret, another Margaret, Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden, had one of her usual comprehensive posts on just this topic, which she titled, "The Tricky Matter of When to Harvest Garlic," and in which she writes, "Most “experts” say to harvest when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six up top are still green." Here's the full post:
  • Susan Culver Susan Culver on Jun 27, 2017

    When the top leaves turn yellow, stop watering and pick, When tops have died back, it is time to pick.

  • Pamela Strohecker Pamela Strohecker on Jun 27, 2017

    As I understand it the flower blooms and then dies and the garlic is ready.

  • Nor25287587 Nor25287587 on Jun 27, 2017

    In my area you plant in October and harvest in August. According to my farmer friend, pinch off the flower bud on the top and the garlic bulb will be larger. I hang my garlic in the garage in a thread style potato bag so it can get air through the winter as I use it. When I harvest in August, I go through the bulbs and pick out some that I want to replant. In October I divide into cloves and plant the cloves separately.

  • Sande Kiesel Strony Sande Kiesel Strony on Jun 27, 2017

    Once the tops curl cut them off so the bulbs will get bigger. Save the curly tops you cut off and use in recipes. They are very tasty.. They actually sell them at a local nursery.. After another week or two you can pull the garlic out and hang them to dry in a cool place.

  • It takes 9 months from planting garlic to harvesting it.

  • Shari@puregrace Shari@puregrace on Feb 09, 2014

    Garlic is pretty hardy and it shouldn't be much of a problem to transplant it. I would go ahead and transplant it while it is still relatively small and hasn't started bulb formation yet. Try to get as much of the root system as possible when you are transplanting. Easy peasy. Good Luck.

  • Shari@puregrace Shari@puregrace on Feb 09, 2014
    Garlic likes a little bit of a sandy soil soil so it is best to use a ratio of 3 parts potting soil to 1 part gardening sand. If you are planting all your garlic in the same container be sure there is at least 4-6 inches all the way around for a bigger bulb. When planting, the bulb should be at about 3 inches deep. You can fertilize with a diluted fertilizer about every 3 weeks once your green shoots come up. My favorite thing about growing garlic is the curly scapes that they produce. These are what eventually will produce a flower. Once the tips have curled and before the stalk flowers, I remove the scapes (this also helps to produce larger bulbs) and use them to make a scape pesto. Absolutely the best pesto ever!
    • See 1 previous
    • Shari@puregrace Shari@puregrace on Feb 11, 2014
      @Liliana Wells Here is a link to a site that has a great pic of what a scape is. They are so yummy and delicious, my mouth waters just thinking about them. The taste is much mellower than a regular clove of garlic and has a hint of sweetness.
  • Shari@puregrace Shari@puregrace on Feb 09, 2014

    I forgot to mention garlic loves the sun, so be sure to find a nice sunny spot to keep your garlic nice and happy.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 19, 2014

    Snip off the stems (which you can use in cooking) as they appear so that the garlic puts all of its energy into forming bulbs. It is not recommended that you use supermarket garlic, which may carry diseases or have been treated to discourage sprouting. It is also not likely to be a type that is suited for your climate. If you have the right type of garlic, there is no reason to keep it indoors. It will do much better outside, in the ground.

    • Ghsi Ghsi on Oct 20, 2014
      I saw on Pinterest if I bought organic it would grow, it already has sprouts which I guess I should cut off. Is this information correct and if organic doesn't work where do I get garlic that will work? Sorry...I'm new at this but really want to learn.
  • Kim Kim on Jan 05, 2015

    In Canada, its customary to plant garlic cloves in the fall (late Oct /Nov) to give the garlic a better root base. Cover with straw, and in the spring, it will come up , the garlic scapes come in June, and harvesting is in July to August. The garlic likes sun, and well drained soil. You can also plant the garlic in pots, and have it come up in a small area, so you can grow on the balcony, you need sun though. Plant the garlic 4-6 inches in the ground, and 4 inches apart. Find yourself a good source of garlic seed. The garlic you buy is stores, has been fumigated, and is sterile.

  • Trish Trish on Jan 06, 2015

    My husband and I have been growing garlic for MANY years and we live in the Finger Lakes region of upstate NY. Work your ground and enjoy working in the dirt. Get good "seed" for your garlic from a reputable provider.Plant in the late fall, generally around Columbus Day. Make your holes and make sure the root end is in the hole first. Space your holes about 4" to 5" apart. Your garlic grows round so they need the space. I plant 2 raised beds with garlic for our own home use and plant the rows about 10" apart. I do hand work to keep the soil loose and weeds out in the summer. Your garlic likes to be planted about 4" deep. It MAY poke it's little top up in pre winter time or on a good thaw day but it is ok. Pretty much after you plant it in the fall don't worry about it again till the weeds show up in the spring. Continue reading the Cornell information and enjoy you garlic. Joann Weido

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 15, 2013
    You plant garlic directly in the ground, but September though February is garlic-planting season in Florida. It probably will not do well in the heat that is surely on its way despite our recent unseasonably cool temps.
  • Rachel Z Rachel Z on May 15, 2013
    Here in PA we harvest ours in June/July. Once they sprout flowers they need to be dug up. Place them in the ground with the stalk part facing up and cover.
  • Amanda Amanda on Mar 29, 2019

    Hi Ron. The best time to plant garlic bulbs is in the fall. You then harvest them in June/July once the tops start yellowing. I have tried growing it in spring but I didn't get a harvest.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 29, 2019

    Fortunately garlic is a good flower pot candidate. You can start it inside before planting season.

  • Charly Charly on Mar 30, 2019

    You plant your garlic in the fall. It grows over winter and spring. Plant it just as you would fall bulbs with the pointed end up. You only have to plant it a couple of inches down into the soil. Come summer, just pull it up and out of the soil and enjoy.

  • Margaret Margaret on Mar 30, 2019

    We plant our garlic in October, always! It will come up in the spring and once the ‘curly cues’ sprout, and leaves start to yellow, dig them up and hang to dry. We live in the same latitude as Sault Ste Marie, Michigan!

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 02, 2013
    According to the University of Florida's Extension Service, you can plant any time from September through February. I suspect that September start would be for the most northern parts of the state. You do need to make sure to use softneck varieties. Suggestions and more info here:
  • Florence Florence on Nov 04, 2017

    I have planted garlic late in the season(November), but must be in the ground before the ground freeze. Hard to keep them all winter as they will start to sprout, so better take the chance, and plant them. Garlic likes good drainage, and no weeds to produce a good head. Depends on what type of garlic you are growing. Soft neck, or hard.

  • Roxaneg Roxaneg on Oct 31, 2017

    You can absolutely plant garlic in a raised bed to weather over the winter. Garlic should go in about an inch deep and water it as you would any other bulb.

    Garlic grown over winter can be bigger than that which you start growing in the spring. You can mulch the garlic to help retain some moisture and keep it protected.

    Most garlic needs a cold period of 32-50 degrees to help the bulbs grow. If you want to trick the garlic, you can store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks at below 40 degrees before planting in the spring.

  • Dianacirce70 Dianacirce70 on Oct 31, 2017

    Fall is the best time to plant garlic, generally before the first hard freeze. A raised bed is great for garlic, but don't plant anything close to it.

  • You can plant your sprouted grocery store garlic! Just use good potting soil and do not over water. They can grow fast! 😍

  • Elizabeth Dion Elizabeth Dion on Jul 07, 2017

    You can plant it as soon as it sprouts. Garlic can be planted indoors as well as outside.

  • Maggie Mulchahey Maggie Mulchahey on Dec 17, 2017

    Garlic is just fine in the frozen ground. It will begin to grow once the temperatures are right. But have your garlic in the ground now is actually good for it. --

  • Amanda Amanda on Dec 19, 2017

    Hi Annettet. It is normal for garlic to freeze in the ground. When the spring thaw comes it will start to grow for a early summer harvest. In WI I plant my garlic right before the ground freezes.

  • Amanda Amanda on Jan 16, 2018

    Hello. The best time to plant garlic is in late fall before the ground freezes. How ever it can also be planted in early spring as soon as the ground is thawed. When planted in the fall the bulbs are bigger for your summer harvest.

  • Liz2207277 Liz2207277 on Jun 09, 2017

    When the stalk folds over it should be ready.

  • Martin Flanagan Martin Flanagan on Jun 10, 2017

    When the Leaves/Stalks fold over and turn yellow .. gently remove the yellow stalks while leaving the ones that remain greenish until they turn completely yellow. When all the leaves have been removed the Clove Corm will have multiplies and be ready for Harvesting !

  • Smile4meevery1 Smile4meevery1 on Jun 09, 2017

    it's ready when it looks like a green onion.

  • See if this helps you out! Many plant in fall for the following year. If you are in a milder climate you may be able to grow year round.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 08, 2018

    Harvest time depends on when you plant, but the clue is to look for yellow tops. Harvest when the tops begin to yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry. In Northern climates, harvesting from fall plantings will probably be in late July or August.

  • Han11807599 Han11807599 on May 06, 2018

    Separate the cloves & plant individually. The general "rule" for seed & bulb depth when planting is 3x the size of the seed or bulb.

  • garlic takes about 8 months to grow, i keep mine going year round :)

  • Ruth Ruth on Sep 04, 2017

    In places with warm summers, it is best to plant the garlic near the beginning of fall/autumn or in early spring. They tend to do best in cool weather. I have grown garlic in pots and raised beds, they have done well in both places. They are good companion plants as many animals like squirrels and deer, don't like the odor they put out. Depending on variety of garlic, they may produce some very unusual looking "flowers". Mine produced what looked like a miniature garlic bulb high up on the stem and then it opened up and had what looked like miniature garlic cloves with tiny pinkish/purplish flowers on the tips. The garlic bulb beneath the soil was pulled when all the above ground greenery had dried out. It tasted so much better than store bought. It was planted in with a blueberry bush. They both did exceedingly well.

    • Ardale Ardale on Sep 05, 2017

      Thanks so much Ruth for your great information on when and how to plant my garlic bulbs. I will be planting them soon!

  • Suzette Suzette on Sep 04, 2017

    Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended for most gardeners. Plant in the fall and you'll find that your bulbs are bigger and more flavorful when you harvest the next summer.

    Good luck!

  • I have planted garlic both spring and fall, in ground and in pots. All have done well. They are easy to care for and the foliage is pretty, to me at least. You can't really screw it up. Even if you start with grocery store cloves, the end result is so much better and more flavorful. I / we love garlic and I do not think there is a savory dish where I haven't tossed in at least some garlic. Yes, you can plant with your flowers and just let them do their thing, at least in my experience they thrive no matter what you do - so take a chance and give it a whirl!

    • Ardale Ardale on Sep 05, 2017

      Thanks Naomie for your planting advice. We also love garlic and put in on most of our meat dishes as well as garlic cheese bread so thought we'd try our hand at planting some. We bought our bulbs at Menards so I have no idea what kind they are or how well they will do since we have never planted garlic before. I had heard that you plant it in the fall then just let the green leaves come up and die back down again the first year but wasn't sure. Garlic just to me brings out the flavor in meats so well. Thanks for your informative advice because to tell you the truth I was a bit worried about planting it in my flower bed. We live in the country and have so many wild critters that I was afraid to plant it in our garden since it's a ways from the house. I will be giving it a try soon! Thanks again, Arda

  • You can plant in pots indoors to grow over the winter and set out next spring or in milder climates, directly in ground. I have in pots and in ground year round. Here is a great link.

  • Judi Judi on Oct 29, 2017

    Plant garlic in the fall. Mulch to protect it. In the spring water and cultivate until stalks bloom. Pinch off bloom and let stalks die. Dig up the harvest.

    I still have garlic I planted midsummer growing in my greenhouse.

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Nov 09, 2017

    Plant cloves in mid-autumn in a sunny location with rich, well-drained soil. Set cloves root side down 4-6" apart in rows 1-1/2 to 2' apart, and cover with 1-2" of fine soil. In the North, put down 6" of mulch for winter protection. Garlic may begin growth late in fall or early in spring.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Apr 09, 2017

    Plant it anytime from October to February (in Florida) so you can harvest in the spring/summer.

  • The bulbs grow underground and are usually harvested in the fall after the tops dry up

  • Your garlic is blooming. The bulbs grow under ground.

    I grow enough that I let some bloom, or "go to seed." The rest I pluck the tops so the bulbs grow bigger and more flavorful.

  • Tina Tina on May 17, 2018

    Once you see that small bulb on the stem pinch it off. That is taking all the nutrients from the bulb underground. It will make the bulbs bigger when you pick them.

  • Ketty Alevra Ketty Alevra on May 17, 2018

    That is the flower, pinch it off, as Shedevils said.

    The bulb is underground.

    If you want fresh garlic, dig them out when the leaves are about 20 cm long. If you want dried, wait until the leaves tern yellowish, 6 to 8 months after planting (in Greece 🙂 )

    • Yor28589504 Yor28589504 on May 17, 2018

      Thank you, Ketty! I will dig them soon because the leaves are beginning to turn.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Apr 09, 2017

    You're going to want to start by improving your soil. You can do this by working the soil and adding amendments such as greensand, soft rock phosphate and occasionally lime. Work in humus in the form of compost and/or aged manure.

    Garlic wants full sun and soil that is well drained and loamy to prevent rotting. Plant the individual cloves about 1.5 to 2 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart with the pointed end up and the root end down. It is best to mulch right away to help prevent soil erosion and keep the weeds down; growth and yield will be much improved if the garlic is kept free of weeds. Garlic takes about nine months to mature and should be kept well weeded and watered regularly if there is no rain (don't overwater, especially in the last months). When the garlic leaves start to turn yellow, keep an eye out. It'll be ready to harvest when about half of the garlic is still green and upright.

  • You will need a large pot - about 10 inches deep and the cloves need to be spaced 4 inches apart. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  • Stephanie Rozmarich Stephanie Rozmarich on Jun 21, 2017

    Bulbs don't start forming until a month or two before harvest. Be sure to hold off on the water the last few weeks before harvest or it could be that you did not choose the best variety for your climate.

  • Gpa5514109 Gpa5514109 on May 27, 2018

    Its easy, separate the wedges. If its already growing plant it pointy side up water every couple of days till it starts to grow. Then wait till it grows as taall as shallot . It will be ready when you see the leaves dry out. Then pull them out hang them out to dry

  • Bijous Bijous on Sep 08, 2018

    Hi, one of the oldest cultivated crops known, garlic needs a heavily mulched bed for winter. Reduce watering for the winter, then in the spring it likes nitrogen in it's fertilizer and keep it's mulch well watered but not standing in water. Happy gardening!

  • Annie Doherty Annie Doherty on Mar 31, 2019

    To grow garlic-separate into cloves and just pop into a prepared soil or pots water in and let it grow, you'll soon be able to cut garlic chives. Incidently growing garlic around roses or any plants or tomatoes, fruit that suffers from aphids keep the pests away. Good luck

  • Jojo Jojo on Mar 31, 2019

    If you want to grow garlic, for keeping over winter, it should be planted in the fall. Separate the cloves, and plant. Protect with mounds of soil and mulch. In the spring they will begin to sprout. You will see they will bring garlic flowers in late May..early June. These should be cut off before they bloom so as not to spend too much of the garlic's energy on the flower. Harvest in the fall, dry, and Voila! Garlic for the winter!! ;-) And yup, they are great insect repellants as Annie mentioned. Bonus time !

  • I just plant leftover cloves from store bought garlic. Stick in a pot with good soil and water. Make sure it gets enough sun too. I am lucky and can grow almost year round, and hopefully this link will help you out. Good luck! Don't give up! You can do this!

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Mar 08, 2019

    You can grow garlic indoors, but you won’t get a head of garlic as you would when you plant cloves in the garden. What you'll get will be garlic sprouts or greens, the green tops of a bulb (much like what happens when a bulb sprouts on your kitchen counter). These greens are not the same as green garlic, which is early spring garlic or immature garlic bulbs and their edible green stalks. They are still quite delicious and can be used as seasoning or garnish. Their flavor is lighter and gentler than that of fresh can grow it year round indoors even in water by staggering the planting time of the bulbs, it takes about 7-10 days to grow them for the greens/tops ;To grow entire heads of garlic, you’ll need to plant outdoors because like other bulbs (think onions and daffodils), they need the cold winter dormancy to produce the scape (flower) and generate a head. Plant in fall, about 6 weeks before hard frost. Set large, firm individual cloves point up in well-prepared soil, burying cloves an inch or two below ground level in mild zones, and at twice that depth in cold-winter areas.

  • Bijous Bijous on Apr 15, 2018

    Garlic needs to have a very rich sandy soil with plenty of organic matter, but it has to be in well draining soil. Some people swear by planting by the moon to ensure larger bulbs and stunting the tops so they don't flower. Good luck.

  • Shoshana Shoshana on Apr 16, 2018

    Garlic needs a pH of 6.0-7.5 and soil that is high in nitrogen. Adding manure is a great way to add nitrogen.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 12, 2018

    Stop watering when the garlic's leaves start drying out, which is an indication it's harvest time. Elephant garlic should be ready to pick when the leaves are bent over and dying back — about 90 days after planting. When half of the leaves have died back, loosen the soil around the bulb with a trowel.

  • Usually, you should wait until the leaves start to bend and die back. Depending on when you planted, can be between late May and Mid-July

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Jun 12, 2018

    The garlic is ready to pull when the leaves have died back. When the dying back begins then quit watering them, and when the leaves turn brown carefully get the garlic heads out of the ground (you don't want to wait too long or you will find the bulb has separated itself already). It would be faster for you to watch the video I have posted below on the proper way to cure and store the elephant garlic after harvesting. I wish you luck with your bounty, and thank you for asking Hometalk for answers :)

  • Morgan McBride Morgan McBride on Aug 02, 2018

    In my experience, it takes at least six months for garlic to be ready to pull! Good luck!

  • FL FL on Nov 26, 2017

    "Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked, but fall planting is recommended for most gardeners. ...

    In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before that frost. ...

    Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove..." for more details:

  • Vickie Vickie on Sep 07, 2018

    I plant mine in raised beds. It seems to do better. When the weather starts to cool cover them well with straw or hay. This keeps them protected from snow, etc. When it starts to warm up in the Spring uncover them. Also, make sure you’re planting the ones that will grow in your region. I live in NC. Softneck garlic grows better in my area. If you buy garlic from the grocery store to plant, make sure it is organic. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jul 06, 2019

    To grow garlic in water, add a bit of water at the bottom of your shot glass or small container – just enough to cover the bottom of your clove (don't submerge the clove or it'll rot). Keep this on your windowsill and after a few days, you'll have scapes! Let them grow until they're several inches tall, then cut from the top.

    How to Grow Garlic Scapes Indoors | My Heart Beets

  • Peggy L Burnette Peggy L Burnette on Jul 02, 2019

    When grown under the right conditions, garlic typically takes nine months to mature. Garlic grows best when it receives at least six hours of full sun daily. Plant garlic in the fall three to eight weeks before the first autumn freeze.

    How Long Does It Take to Grow Garlic in Containers? | Home Guides ...

  • Unexpected Elegance Unexpected Elegance on Aug 30, 2018

    You can use garlic you get at the grocery store. Here's a great article for how and when to plant:

  • Donna Donna on Aug 30, 2018

    You can buy garlic bulbs at the grocery store, separate the cloves and plant them with the pointed ends up 4-6" apart and 1-2" in the ground. They work well in raised beds and water when the ground appears dry. You can plant them in the fall and cover with about 6" of mulch to protect them over the winter or plant in early spring.

  • After they start to turn yellow stop watering and let them die back. Then you can pull them.

  • Little Sprouts Learning Little Sprouts Learning on Jun 16, 2019

    After the bottom three leaves are brown or yellow, it's time to pull. :)

  • Jeanne Grunert Jeanne Grunert on Oct 26, 2018

    Depends on the garlic variety. Elephant and Italian garlic are planted in the fall, left in the garden over the winter, and are usually good to harvest by May. An old farmer's saying is plant by Columbus Day and harvest by Mother's Day. Good luck.

  • Ravven Ravven on Nov 17, 2023


  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 01, 2024

    I grow garlic year around, just stick the clove into soil and water. If you want to use the stalk early, it is called green garlic, not as strong flavor as the full grown, but will do.

  • Deb K Deb K on May 01, 2024

    Hello, hope this helps. Sowing: Separate the cloves and set each one, pointed end up, 10-15cm (4-6”) apart and with the tip of the clove 2-5cm (1-2”) deep. Don't skin the cloves! Use deeper planting if rain or frost may expose the cloves, and shallower planting if using mulch or planting into heavy soil.

    Rich, well drained soil. Dig well, add compost (lots of it if your soil is heavy) and do not compact it by stepping on it. Lime the soil several weeks before planting

    Fertilize when spring growth starts. Water as needed and keep weeded. Cut flower stalks to keep energy in the bulb. If individual cloves haven’t formed, either eat the clove or replant and it will bulb next year

    When the tops begin to dry, pull and air-dry like onions. Some growers recommend waiting until 75% of the plant has dried up before pulling, and others say the key is to pull when each plant is down to 6 green leaves

  • DIM DIM on May 12, 2024

    Congrats on your most memorable garlic collect! It's a thrilling achievement in your planting process.

    For garlic, it's regularly prescribed to collect it when the lower passes on begin to become brown and dry out, normally in mid-to pre-fall, contingent upon when you established it and your neighborhood environment. In any case, assuming you're developing hardneck garlic assortments, the scapes (the wavy blossom stems that arise) can be reaped prior for culinary use, for the most part in pre-summer or late-spring, which guides more energy to bulb arrangement.

    In the event that your significant other has previously picked one and it looks developed and very much shaped, it ought to be fine. You can actually look at its availability by delicately brushing ceaselessly some dirt around the bulb and analyzing its size and shape. On the off chance that it looks full fledged and the cloves are stout, it's probably prepared to gather. Simply make certain to deal with it cautiously to try not to harm the bulbs.

    Concerning potatoes, they can be reaped when the plants begin to yellow and kick the bucket back, generally in mid-to pre-fall also. On the off chance that you've uncovered your most memorable potatoes and they appear to be experienced and grown, then it seems as though it's collect time for them as well!

    Partake in your new garlic and potatoes! There's nothing very like the flavor of local produce.