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Growing Garlic from Cloves in 3 Easy Steps!

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Do you love garlic?  You can grow your own garlic with little to no effort in a very small space or in a couple of acres. By planting garlic cloves you can grow your own garlic bulbs in just three easy steps!

Can You Grow Garlic from a Clove? 

YES!! Garlic cloves are small segments of the garlic bulb or the garlic head. They range from tiny to thick, with the smaller segments being close to the center.


Growing Garlic from Cloves

Each clove has the ability to produce one whole garlic head! In theory, you can grow several garlic heads from just one bulb. Notice how I said ‘in theory’? That’s because I’ve never experienced 100% growth rate from one bulb, not from lack of trying however. So I say plant more than what you think you’ll want to harvest. 

How Long Does it Take to Grow Garlic? 

Garlic takes roughly 9 months to mature from plant date. In addition to growing time, you’ll want to add on a couple of weeks for curing after you harvest. 

Garlic Types to Try

Softneck types grow best where winters are mild, though some tolerate cold to Zone 5. Most varieties do not produce scapes (edible curled flower stalks), but softnecks are great for braiding. Sub-types include Creole, artichoke and many Asian varieties.

Hardneck types adapt to cold winter climates, and all produce delicious curled scapes in early summer. Popular sub-types include porcelain, purple stripe and rocambole varieties.

Elephant garlic produces a large, mild-flavored bulb comprised of four to six big cloves. Closely related to leeks, elephant garlic is hardy to Zone 5 if given deep winter mulch.

Can Your Plant Garlic From The Grocery Stores? 

I suggest that buy seed garlic bulbs online or from a local nursery or farm. Garlic bought from a grocery store may be treated with a growth inhibitor and will not reproduce a bulb. 

If you want to plant garlic from the grocery store, I suggest buying the organic garlic and try that. I’ve experienced some success with store-bought garlic bulbs in the past. 

What is the Best Month to Plant Garlic? 

I have always planted in the fall in zones 8b and 7b, of course our winters were never extreme. In areas that get a hard frost, plant garlic 6 to 8 weeks before the frost.

In addition to fall planting, I plant a bumper crop in early spring now that I live in a little bit cooler climate. I do tend to add a little extra mulch in the warmer months to help with water retention and to keep the soil cooler. 

If you don’t know your plant hardiness zone, you can look it up on this map from the USDA. 

Growing Garlic from Cloves is as Easy as 1-2-3!

More is always better! You you think you want ten garlic heads, plant 20. Just in case some cloves don’t develop. 

Step # 1

Garlic likes the full sun and loose, well-drained soil. This is something you can even do in a planter so it’s the perfect crop for patio gardens. 

  • To prepare your garlic, break apart the cloves from the bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.

 Step # 2

  • Place cloves with the pointy part up and the root side (the bigger side) down.
  • Plant the individual cloves in a sunny location about 6″  deep and 4-6″ apart.

 Step # 3

  • Cover the planted cloves with 1-2″ of organic compost and mulch.
  • Water deeply the first two weeks and keep watered on a regular basis until first frost if planting in Fall or until weather warms if planting in Spring.

As the garlic grows, cut the scapes (the flowers than bloom out of the garlic) that grow so the garlic can concentrate on producing a large bulb and not the flowers (softneck varieties tend not to flower).

Harvesting, Drying, and Curing Garlic

You’re garlic is ready to harvest when the 2/3 of the stalk starts to turn brown. Once you harvest your garlic, you’ll want to let it cure for a couple of weeks.

You can do this by bunching your garlic in groups and hanging, place on some newspaper on a table, or braid the stalks and hang them. It’s best to make sure they aren’t in the sun and have good circulation around them when drying/curing. 

Dig from soil, set out to cure for a couple of weeks and enjoy! 


Garlic Uses

We use garlic in so many ways, from natural insect repellent to treating earaches. We make Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider Recipe every year so we have it before cold and flu season. 

In addition to garlic being a top ingredient for many natural remedies, it’s one of our main ingredients in most of our meals. One of our favorite snacks to make is our Herb Roasted Garlic. 

What is a way that you use your garlic? I’m always looking for new recipes to try so please email me your suggestions!


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