Garlic is a hardy plant that prefers cool temperatures for the initial root development and then warmer temperatures for bulb growth. It thrives in full sun and well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. Prepare the soil with well-rotted manure or compost before planting.
Plant garlic in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes, for a harvest in the following summer. In warmer climates, garlic can be planted in early spring.
Separate the cloves from the bulb just before planting. Plant cloves 2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart, with the pointed end facing up. Space rows 10-12 inches apart. Mulch with straw or leaves to protect the cloves over the winter and to retain moisture.
For comprehensive guidance on garlic varieties, planting, care, and troubleshooting, refer to our detailed garlic grow guide.
Diseases, Insects, and Weeds
Garlic is relatively disease-resistant but can be affected by white rot, rust, and mildew in humid conditions. Practice crop rotation and ensure good air circulation around plants. Pests such as onion thrips and nematodes can also affect garlic; maintain clean cultivation and use organic or chemical controls if necessary.
Harvest garlic when the lower leaves start to brown but several green leaves remain (usually in mid to late summer). Carefully lift the bulbs with a fork or shovel, being careful not to damage them. Allow them to dry or cure in a warm, dry, ventilated area for a few weeks.
Storage and Preservation
Store cured garlic bulbs in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. They can last several months under proper conditions. Garlic can also be preserved by pickling or by making garlic-infused oils or vinegars.