Garlic (Allium tuberosum)

When to Plant

Plant as soon as possible in the spring.

Location/Soil

Garlic grows best in a rich, well drained soil in full sun. The addition of compost is beneficial. Try to plant in an area that was not previously planted with garlic or onions to reduce the opportunities for pests and diseases.

Planting & Growing Information

Separate bulbs into individual cloves and plant 10-15 cm (4-6”) apart. Plant 2.5-5 cm (1-2”) deep with the tips (pointed end) of the cloves up.

Other Information

Keep planting area well weeded.

Stop watering shortly before harvest to allow the ground to dry around the bulbs and increase the storage quality of the bulb.

Bulbs will not reach a large size if planted late in the season.

It is best to separate the cloves from the bulb just before planting – this prevents the root nodules from drying and the garlic will be able to set roots quickly.

Harvesting & Storage

Allow the tops of the garlic plant to fall over on their own.

Garlic is ready to harvest once the leaves have withered and dried

Harvest bulbs once they reach maturity – they loose some of their storage quality if left too long in the garden.

Pull plants and allow the garlic to dry for a few days either outdoors if weather allows or in a warm, dry basement/garage.

To store garlic, make sure it has had enough time to dry then either braid the garlic or tie in bunches and keep in a cool, dry area.

Winter Greens Project

Consider planting a small pot of garlic during the winter months for some fresh garlic greens. Garlic cloves planted this way will not produce garlic heads but the wonderful greens they grow can be used in all kinds of recipes. Separate cloves from the bulb, leaving the peel on, and plant 8-10 garlic cloves closely together in a pot. Place on a sunny windowsill and keep moist. Green sprouts should start to appear after a week and once they are 15-20 cm (6-8”) tall harvest the greens with a pair of scissors and enjoy. Cloves should supply a few cutting before they stop producing. If you don’t have any garlic on hand a bulb from the grocery store will work just the same. The perfect winter windowsill garden for some color and flavor!

Elephant Garlic

This is a type of garlic that has large cloves and a wonderfully warm, mild, slightly sweet flavor. It is not a substitute for regular garlic in recipes but is instead used to add a subtle hint of garlic flavoring in salads or sliced and sautéed in cooked dishes and stir fries. When roasted it has a wonderful sweet and creamy flavor. Like regular garlic, elephant grows best in rich, well drained soil and harvest time will be indicated by leaf tops turning dry or bending. Gently dig and remove the bulbs and store in a cool dry location. It does have a shorter shelf life and cannot be kept for a long time.

Roasting Elephant Garlic (& Regular Garlic)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place in a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic until it is completely filled.

Wrap tightly with foil and place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and fragrant, for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel outside off of bulb of garlic and gently squeeze each clove out.

Use in the recipe of your desire, or simply spread on bread for a wonderful addition to any meal.