We still have several feet of snow on the ground here in most places, but I’m thrilled to report that there are also a few patches of bare ground just starting to show. This is the time of year when I begin to feel very impatient because I can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can get out into the gardens again. It will be a while yet before we can actually plant anything because we have such late frosts here, but I’m already thinking about one of the first things I can actually plant… garlic. Garlic needs cool temperatures as the leaves are developing, so garlic can be planted as early as six weeks before the last frost date. Last year for the first time I also tried planting garlic in the fall, so I am eager to see how that worked out in this temperature zone and if there will be any bulbs ready for harvest earlier than usual.

A garlic plant in spring

I find it very easy to grow garlic here. I just separate the cloves and plant each one about two inches deep and at least six inches apart. I have found that the bulbs will grow larger in full sun and in really rich soil that has been deeply cultivated. I also cut off any flower heads as they develop so all of the plant’s energy can go into the bulb.

I always let the garlic tell me when it is time to harvest the bulbs. When the tops begin to turn yellow, I bend them down and leave them until the stems become soft. This is the time to dig the bulbs. At this point I still leave the roots and tops attached and spread everything out in a protected area out of the sun until the tops are dry and the skin on the bulbs has become papery. After the drying period I usually make at least one garlic braid, and this year I plan to use several bulbs right away to make garlic powder, but with the rest of the bulbs I just cut off the tops and roots. I store my garlic bulbs in a cool place, and they keep well. Storage time for garlic can be up to one year, but we always run out long before the winter is over.

I need to start growing more garlic!

Add Your Comment

All comments are moderated... your email address will not be published.

Talk to me! :o)



Here in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas we are truly blessed. My elephant garlic lives outdoors year round. The trees are budding, and some flowers (daffodils and crocus) are already blooming. Spring is on its way!


I did it all wrong last year, but I’m hoping the garlic survived the winter and I’ll have some this spring…fingers crossed!


I planted garlic last fall – it’s going crazy. As soon as it got slightly warmer – I’ve got stems probably 8-9″ tall. I’m really happy. I hope it keeps growing. I’ve heard the bulb grows in relation to the top part. Wooo! :) I think I did everything right – but this is my first time.

I might freeze mine. I’m not sure. We’re talking about trying to move, so I will probably be less adventuresome with it.


Did I understand this right? Take a bulb of garlic, break off a clove, and bury in the dirt to grow more garlic? Please help, I have no idea about gardening and want to learn.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Yes, that’s really all there is to it… just be sure you have the clove right end up!


I have found so many useful things on this site! There are so many things I didn’t know how to do. Excellent!!!!


I live in the Republic of Panama and can grow year round but when I tried to grow garlic after I let the clove sprout in water till it had some roots and some sprouting from the tip,
it grow nice tops. But there was never a a clove just one bulb, more like an onion.
My friends tell me they have the same results when they plant
individual clove.
What are we doing wrong???

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Dolores, I would guess that the garlic you planted had not gone through a cold period… garlic requires at least two months at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for good bulb formation. Garlic that is not cold-treated will produce the single bulb you described. If the cloves you are planting have not been cold-treated, you can do this yourself by putting them in the refrigerator for the necessary time.

I don’t understand why you’re sprouting the cloves in water. I would suggest planting the cloves in soil without sprouting.