If you love garlic like me, then you will want to make some space in your garden to grow some this year! Below are 7 tips to help you get started.

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1. Grow the Best Variety of Garlic for the Texas Climate

There are two types of garlic plants: softneck and hardneck. Softneck does best in our warmer Texas climate. It stores longer, which means it’s likely what you buy in the grocery store. Hardneck varieties are more suitable for colder climates and have a shorter shelf life. When looking to purchase, make sure you get a softneck variety if you are growing in Central Texas.

2. Buy Garlic Bulbs for Planting

Garlic can be purchased from local farmers’ markets and possibly local nurseries. It’s always great when you can shop local. If you’re not able to find any local, then here are a few online retailers that sell garlic bulbs for planting: Botanical Interests, High Mowing Seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and Renee’s Garden.

One last option is to buy organic garlic from a local grocery store. This is the least reliable option but definitely worth trying if you’re in a pinch and can’t buy garlic locally or online.

3. Plant Garlic at the Best Time

Fall is the best time to plant your garlic cloves. People in colder climates typically plant their garlic cloves about a month before the ground freezes. Here in Central Texas, the best time to plant is mid-October. You can plant anytime from September to December, but mid-October is the best time to get those cloves in the ground.

4. Prepare Your Soil and Garlic Bulbs for Planting

Make sure your soil is loose and well draining. Add some compost and all purpose fertilizer such as Microlife’s Multi-Purpose Fertilizer before planting. Break apart the garlic bulbs into the individual cloves, leaving the paper skins on. Soak for a few hours up to overnight, but no longer than 24hrs, in water with some liquid seaweed. I love Microlife’s Super Seaweed. Plant the cloves, pointy end up, about 2″ to 3″ deep and 4″ to 6″ apart. You can plant them in rows, or you can tuck a clove here and there around your garden, anywhere you have an empty spot. 

5. Water and Fertilize Garlic as It Grows

Water garlic plants well as they’re growing. It’s best to water deeply and less often. As the garlic comes to the end of its growth cycle, water less often to let the bulbs start firming up. This will be around April to May, depending on when the garlic was planted.

Provide monthly organic fertilizer. I love to water deeply with Microlife’s Super Seaweed.

6. Harvest Garlic When the Lower Leaves Turn Brown

Most softneck garlic is ready to harvest within 6 to 8 months of planting, depending on the weather and the variety of garlic planted. The best way to know when garlic is ready for harvest is when half of the lower leaves have turned brown. Pull up one garlic bulb to see if it’s ready. 

After the garlic is harvested, don’t wash off the dirt. The garlic needs to dry and cure for proper long-term storage. Place the garlic, in a single layer, on slatted shelves or a drying rack to allow for proper airflow. It’s best to do this inside a garage or house or anywhere that it is dry with a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees.

Pro tip:

Use a small fan to keep air circulation while drying.

7. Store Garlic Somewhere Cool & Dry

When the garlic stems are dried, trim off the roots and the stems to about 1″ in length. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place. Mesh bags work great for storage!

Pro tip:

Save the largest cloves for planting next fall.



Can You Grow Garlic from Seeds?

You can technically grow garlic from seeds, but it’s much faster and easier to plant large, well-formed garlic cloves. Garlic planted from seed will spend 2 to 3 years (yes, years) in the garden before it’s turned into a nice, full garlic bulb that’s ready for harvest.

How Much Space Does Garlic Need to Grow?

Plant each clove about 4″ to 6″ apart. If you know the expected size of each bulb at harvest, make sure to leave at least that much space between each clove. You can stagger your rows to fit more cloves, or you can tuck garlic around your garden beds, basically anywhere you have an open spot. I love to grow garlic this way becuase each little garlic plant offers some protection from pests to neighborhing plants. 

How Much Sun Does Garlic Need to Grow?

Plant your garlic in an area that gets at least 6 to 8 hrs of sun. Garlic needs full sun for proper developement of the bulbs. If you give your garlic too much shade, prepare for bulbs that are disappointing in size or that take forever to form. 

What’s the Best Soil for Growing Garlic?

Garlic grows best in loose, well-drained soil. If you’re setting up a container garden for your garlic, you can create your own sandy loam soil by mixing equal parts topsoil, coarse sand, and compost. If you’re planting in a raised bed, add some compost to the surface of the bed and work it into the top couple of inches to loosen the soil. I like to also add a little bit of Microlife’s Multi-Purpose Fertilizer before planting.

Is Garlic Perennial?

If you grow garlic from seeds, you’ll have garlic plants in your garden for several years. These perennial garlic plants will help deter pests in your garden while they’re forming bulbs underground. Hardneck varieties will also produce scapes you can cut and enjoy. 

Lettuce Help You Grow

If you can stand the long wait for your first bubls, you’ll fall in love with fresh, homegrown garlic. 

We’re here to help you grow all your favorite edible plants. Let us know if you have any questions about growing your own garlic bulbs in your vegetable garden.