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How to Grow Garlic from a Clove – Step-by-Step Guide

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In this article, I unveil the secrets of garlic growing and explain why you can’t start your crop with just any garlic clove and why the placement of garlic cloves is crucial for a bountiful harvest. Whether you have a single clove of garlic or several, whether your goal is to enjoy a homegrown garlic crop or embark on an experimental horticultural journey, we’ve got you covered. Follow the steps outlined in this article to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to grow garlic from a single clove successfully. Let’s plunge into the world of garlic growing together!

Will Garlic Grow From a Clove

The best way to grow garlic is by planting a garlic clove. If you plant in October, by the middle of May, you will have your garlic harvest. Take advantage of the video tutorial and read the whole article to learn all the tips you need to plant garlic cloves. Also, pay attention to the details to know everything about how to grow garlic from cloves in your garden or containers. It’s super easy!

Video Tutorial about planting garlic from cloves in the garden or containers.

How Long to Grow Garlic from a Clove

It takes between 7 to 8 months to grow garlic from a clove. It is not difficult, and you can do it in containers and move the pots inside the house if freezing.

When to Plant Garlic from Cloves in the Northern Hemisphere?

When to grow garlic from a clove? The growing season and how long it takes to grow a garlic clove depend on the climate. If you live in cold areas, you should plant garlic at the end of winter. Otherwise, the garlic may freeze. If you live in a more temperate zone, you can plant it from the beginning of winter until it is close to the end. For example, garlic cultivation in the Northern Hemisphere can be done from October and November to January.

Thus, garlic harvesting in the Northern Hemisphere begins in April or May and lasts until early August, depending on the weather and when it was planted. Its growth lasts about 3-5 months. Garlic is a somewhat rustic plant, which adapts well to different climates and tolerates the cold of winter well, but it would not withstand a dry and hot August. Therefore, it is usually best to plant it in November.

when to grow garlic from a clove
When to Grow Garlic from a Clove? Depending on which hemisphere you live in (North or South), the time to plant garlic will be different. Grow garlic from cloves in Australia and New Zealand between April and July.

When to Plant Garlic from Cloves in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand)

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, to grow garlic from cloves, you have to see the time of year. For example, to grow a clove of garlic in Australia and New Zealand, you should plant it in April and July. As I explain in this article, garlic cloves need low temperatures for sprouting. Therefore, the best time for planting garlic cloves is during the fall season.

How to Grow Garlic from a Clove Step-by-Step

Let’s see the step-by-step for planting garlic cloves to grow garlic.

Choose the Right Garlic Cloves for Planting

All healthy garlic cloves are capable of sprouting, but not all give good harvests.

If you want the garlic plant to be vigorous and very productive, you should select to plant only the garlic cloves located on the outside of the head, the largest ones. The inner ones are best used for cooking because, although they will also sprout, they will give rise to weak plants that will form small bulbs.

Choose the Soil and Container

It would be best if you grew garlic from a clove either in the ground, in the soil of a vegetable garden, or a container (any medium to large pot) with a capacity of 0.8 to 1 Gallon (3 to 4 liters). You could plant them in a smaller one, but indeed, the plant would not develop optimally.

The substrate or soil must have a good balance of nutrients, but they don’t need to be very fertile. Garlic is undemanding in this aspect, and it develops well with the nutrients that remain in the soil after harvesting other crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, etc. The loose, slightly gritty texture promotes drainage and also promotes the growth of the garlic clove.

Add Wood Ash to the Garlic Soil

Wood ash is a very interesting amendment to add to the soil in which you will grow garlic from a clove. It is perfect for them, but you should not overdo it with the quantity, especially if the soil is already very alkaline.

The ideal soil pH for growing garlic typically falls in the range of 6.0 to 7.0. Garlic tends to thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions. I strongly recommend measuring the soil pH before planting and correcting it if needed.

grow garlic from a clove
Always remember to place the garlic cloves in the correct position, as we mentioned in the paragraph, and can be seen in the image.

A handful of wood ash, well mixed with the substrate, for a pot of 1 Gallon (4 liters) is enough. In the garden, we sprinkle it on top of the soil and then stir to mix well.

How Deep to Plant Garlic Cloves

The garlic clove should be planted with the pointed area upwards, which is the place where the sprout of the plant will come out. The garlic clove will be born the same if it is planted in another position. Still, the turn that it will have to give to rise to the surface will make the future “stem” of the plant present a very unaesthetic curve, and also this simple fact has an essential influence on the development of the plant.

A garlic clove can be planted at a depth of about 1.2″ to 1.6″ (3 or 4 cm) to ensure that it will have enough moisture when it emerges. It can also be planted at a shallower depth, but make sure that the soil remains moist (not waterlogged) in that area all the time until the plant is about 6″ to 8″ (15 to 20 cm) deep.

Grow Garlic from a Clove That Has Sprouted

Over the years of repeating this process, I think I have had the best results when I put the garlic cloves in the refrigerator for a few weeks before planting. The cold of the refrigerator makes them sprout very quickly, and in 1 or 2 weeks, they have already sprouted cloves and are ready to plant. If the garlic clove is already sprouted, it is better to bury it very little so that the green sprout remains in the light.

If more than one garlic clove is to be planted, they should be spaced at least 4″ (10 cm) apart so that the future plants have enough space and adequate ventilation and light. It can be planted at any time of the year and in any place.

It should be placed in a sunny spot as much as possible and, in the case of the orchard, on ridges if the soil tends to become waterlogged with rain or irrigation.

Once these steps have been completed, the only thing left to do is to wait for it to sprout. You have to be patient. It can take quite some time to sprout from the ground.

garlic clove sprouted
Garlic sprouts grow during the fall season.

Watering Garlics Growing in Pots or the Ground

Since it is planted in winter, garlic does not usually need watering since it is a cold season in which humidity is well maintained, and it usually rains abundantly. However, in arid winters or springs, it is advisable to water them a little, depending on the severity of the drought. It is good to moisten the soil, but never water too much, as the bulb could rot.

Otherwise, there is not much more to care for garlic. This plant usually has few problems with pests or diseases, although some larvae can invade the bulb. To avoid these problems as much as possible, the ideal is to do preventive treatments from mid to late April, which is when mild temperatures and high humidity begin.

garlic plant in the crop
Garlic plants growing in a garden bed

When is the Best Time to Harvest Garlic

Garlic is pulled off when the leaves of the plant have withered. They are left to dry in the sun for a few days and then braided. The braid is hung in a dry and airy place. This will help preservation.

I’m sure you’ll be interested to read our post about How & When to Harvest Garlic – When is Ready to Harvest.

The conservation of the garlic heads needs to keep them in a dry place with good ventilation. Garlic heads can be stored for about a year, depending on growing and storage conditions. Loose teeth and damaged heads don’t last long.

Final Thoughts About Planting Garlic Cloves for Growing Garlic This Fall

In conclusion, the journey of planting garlic cloves and nurturing them into full-grown bulbs is a rewarding endeavor for gardeners. The process of growing garlic from cloves is a beautiful reminder of nature’s patience and resilience.

Remember to choose the right garlic variety, provide the ideal growing conditions, and maintain consistent care throughout the season. I am sure you will soon find yourself with a delightful garlic harvest that not only elevates your culinary creations but also deepens your connection to the natural world.

Whether it’s in a garden plot or snug containers, the journey is equally fulfilling. Let us know in the post comments how good your harvest was!

garlic harvest in a crop
Garlic Harvest in a Crop.

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About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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