How to Grow Garlic in 5 Easy Steps

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If you are married to an Italian (like I am), are Italian yourself, or have any fantasies of being Italian, you probably want to grow garlic. Don’t tell the Italians, but it’s one of the easiest things to grow in your garden.  Recently Pat Corpora, a real 100% Italian born in Sicily, stopped by to stake my tomatoes, but while he was in my garden, gave a brief lesson in growing garlic (which my husband does). Here are his 5 easy steps:

1: Plant single cloves of garlic in the fall (October is perfect). Take a whole clove, break apart the single cloves and stick them in the ground in rows or any pattern you want, really.

2: In the spring, the garlic will start to grow nice and big all by itself, and then the “scape” will appear, which looks like a giant curled blossom. Cut them back in late spring (so more energy goes to the bulb than the bloom). You can use the scapes for cooking.

3: When the stems start to brown and tilt in early to mid summer, harvest the garlic by pulling it from the ground.

4: Rinse the bulb and cut the roots.

5: Hang the garlic in a cool, dark and DRY place until ready to use. A garage is perfect.

Your garlic will be ready just in time for fresh tomato season. And if you store it well in a cool, dark and dry place, you can use the garlic all winter long.

 

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16 Responses to How to Grow Garlic in 5 Easy Steps

  1. annie July 13, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    We just harvested over 100 heads of garlic this past weekend in our pool that we converted into a garden! The other great thing about planting garlic is that you can plant all sorts of other things in and around it as it grows. We have basil and lettuce growing in between the garlic all summer long.

  2. Mandy K July 13, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Would garlic grow in a pot outside? I am a renter, and my husband and I move around a lot. I really want to grow some of my own food, but I never know where I’m going to be the next year. Any advice?

  3. maria (farm country kitchen) July 13, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Mandy, it depends on your climate. If you put it in a pot that can be “heeled in” — which means dug into the soil over the winter, it could work. If you are in a cold climate things in pots freeze too much and may not make it. But it’s always worth a try!

  4. Mike Lieberman July 13, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    I’m so doing this as I go through tons of garlic. About how far apart should the cloves be planted?

  5. maria (farm country kitchen) July 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    a couple of inches — 5 to 6 is enough.

  6. Karen July 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Need a source of good organic bulbs to plant in fall in the Lehigh valley

  7. Ajo July 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Hi Maria I am a small organic grower in southern California and inhearted
    a field with last years garlic heads still in the ground they are small but there are several hundred pounds at the least. I also have about 1/4 acre of fresh garlic from this year which i want to sell and keep the stuff in the field for seed for this fall.what do you think.

  8. Laura B. July 15, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    @ Karen. http://www.groworganic.com

  9. Bonnie July 15, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Please see my site at http://www.trynaturalsolutions.com
    Thank you

  10. Denise July 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Hi, Maria
    Do you have any hints how to grow garlic in Southern Florida on the east coast.
    Thank you

  11. Rich Hill November 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Hi Maria,
    You forgot:
    Step 6. After harvest, plant your best garlic in Oct-Nov. The garlic will adapt to your garden and get better each year.

  12. Jacqueline DeBoard April 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I planted some this spring…couldn’t wait for fall. Just to experiment. It is growing over 5″ in just a month. This was an awesome project that I’ve shared with a couple family members and coworkers too! Thanks for the great ideas Maria!!! :)

  13. Jane DeJournette January 1, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    Finally, I found someone outside of my immediate family who has eaten codfish cakes growing up. We grew up in Virginia Beach and to this very day- until I read your post-I had never encountered anyone else who ate these- or even knew what they were. My maternal grandfather is from a region of Spain where codfish cakes are a staple. I am rejoicing to see the recipe you posted. Really cool stuff. -Jane in Atlanta

  14. JimC October 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    Maria – Thanks for this wonderful site. And thank you for all you do for the local community (I live in Easton).

    Based on your recommendation, I look forward to planting some garlic cloves from some I purchased at the Easton Garlic Festival!!! (Did you go this year?)

  15. mashwe December 16, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    I have two heads of elephant garlic that I would like to plant is it too late to do it now? in December 16th

  16. Jack January 6, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Would Garlic make a nice cash crop for my acre garden where
    I grow other things aswell.

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