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Plant Garlic Now: 5 Tips for Bumper Crops

Plant Garlic Now: 5 Tips for Bumper Crops

Garlic always gets a space in my tiny garden because I rarely cook without it (even my favorite ice cream recipe calls for it), and I like planting things in the fall. When I’ve lost much of my garden to the first frost, putting garlic cloves into the ground connects me to next summer.

For planting and growing anything, Mother Earth News editor Barbara Pleasant never steers me wrong. Using her chart, this year I’ll plant purple stripe hardneck, which is suited to my climate. I’ll simply follow her great advice in “Growing Garlic” for a bumper crop.

To get the biggest bulbs, Barbara recommends planting garlic just after the first frost–any day now in Colorado, where early frosts have caused me to eat far too many green tomatoes. Then I follow these super easy steps to get my garlic underground, where the cloves will divide and multiply while the snow flies. I’ll have fresh garlic come June.

  1. Wait until just before planting to break garlic bulbs into cloves.
  2. Plant in sunny, well-drained beds.
  3. Plant cloves at least 4 inches deep and about 6-8 inches apart.
  4. Plant cloves with their pointed ends up.
  5. Cover with 3-5 inches of shredded leaves (a nice use of this resource, abundant right now).

Illustrations by Keith Ward

Softneck garlics (left) grow best where winters are mild and are great for braiding.

Hardnecks (center) adapt to cold winter climates and produce delicious scapes in early summer.

Elephant garlic (right), hardy to Zone 5 if given deep winter mulch, produces a large, mild-flavored bulb comprised of four to six big cloves.

Mother’s chart of garlic types includes descriptions, growing tips and great varieties to try.

Garlic: A Gardener’s Best Friend
5 Plants to Plant & 5 Projects for the Fall Garden

Read more: Eating for Health, Food, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, , , , , , , , , ,

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Robyn Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence is editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Magazine, an eco-lifestyle magazine that bridges spa wisdom with green living. Through print, online and phone apps, Organic Spa Magazine offers expert advice and inspiration on sustainable health and wellness, beauty and skin care, fashion and travel. 


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1:40AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

Thank you

8:03AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

Thanks for the tips on garlic!

9:03AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012


5:25PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

thank you

3:06PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Good to know. I tried to grow it once but planted at the wrong time of year. I'll try it again. I love garlic.

1:33AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011


11:53PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Thanks for that recommendation - I'll give it a try.

10:37AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

thanks for the tips... I started garlic this year and got :-( NONE:-(
Next year should be better....

8:35AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011


1:33AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I LOVE Garlic!! I have to try growing my own. This is great info!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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