How to Plant Garlic

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Garlic Bulbs for Planting

Planning to plant garlic this spring? If so, now is the time to get it in the ground. Here’s a step-by-step guide to take you through the process.

Homemade Dibble

Opinions vary about the proper depth and spacing for garlic, but I recommend going with two-inches deep and four-inches apart. To make quick work of the digging, I use a dibble that my husband built for me a few years back. Just press it into the soil, and it gives you holes with the right depth and spacing. Brilliant. My dibble is sized to stamp a square foot of garden bed at a time, so it’s ideal for square foot gardening. I also use this dibble to plant my onions (and a bunch of other things), so it’s something I use regularly.

Prepare the bed that you’ll be planting by loosening up the soil and working in some compost or fertilizer; then stamp your holes with a dibble or dig them by hand.

Holes Made With Dibble

Here’s what the dibble gave me.

Garlic Cloves

Once, you have your holes, gently open your garlic heads, and separate them into individual cloves. Be careful not to damage any in the process. Inspect each clove, and pull any with mold or rot. Also pull any undersized cloves. You can use them in your cooking, but you want to use your biggest and best cloves for planting.

Plant Garlic With the Pointed End Up

Now, plant your garlic with the pointed end facing up.

Garlic Planted in Holes

When you have a clove in each hole, cover them up with soil.

Mulched Garlic Bed

Then, cover the bed with several inches of mulch. This is especially important, if you’re planting your garlic in the fall. Leaves are a no-cost option, so that’s what I use.

And that’s really all it takes to plant garlic.

When to Plant Garlic

Garlic can be planted in the spring or fall, but you’ll get much bigger bulbs, if you opt for a fall planting. Not sure when to plant garlic in your area? For a fall planting, it should go in the ground two weeks before the first frost. For a spring planting, it should go in the ground as soon as the soil can be worked.

Spring-planted garlic is ready for harvest in the fall. Fall-planted garlic is ready for harvest by early to mid-summer.

Do Not Plant Garlic With …

  • Beans
  • Peas

How Much Garlic Should You Plant?

For a year’s supply of garlic, plant 15-20 cloves per person in your household.

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    1. Exciting! You don’t have too much longer to wait before you get to see how it did. You may already know this, but you can eat the green garlic (the shoots) while you wait. Use can use them just like green onions. If you’re growing hardneck garlic, you can also eat the garlic scapes.

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