Garlic: it’s not too late to plant

iStock_000002952072SmallYesterday I had a nice chat with Warren Ham, the farmer who runs August’s Harvest garlic farm in Stratford, Ontario and guess what he said? It’s not too late to plant some garlic so that you have a home harvest next year. In fact, even if the ground is frozen in your area, Warren says you can scatter compost over the hard ground; plant the cloves and then top them with a thickish layer of compost and you’ll have garlic scapes for stir fries next spring. Seriously.

So, if you were wondering what to do this weekend, now you have plans!  Just follow these tips – provided by Warren – for growing garlic:

  • Make sure you choose cloves that are hard and solid.
  • Plant in a raised bed of about 4-inches to give the bulb uncompacted soil that will allow the roots to develop and for excess rain to drain away in the spring.
  • Plant each clove with the root plate end down
  • Space the cloves 5 inches (12.5 cm) apart
  • Plant near a fence or hedge that can act as a wind break to prevent winter kill

In the spring, harvest the scape flower 10 to 14 days after it appears and use it in your recipes. Harvest the bulbs at the end of the season when the leaves have died back by 30% (the bulbs will open if left longer. Dig from the ground, hang and cure for at least a week before using them in recipes.

Have you ever grown your own garlic?  If not, now that you know how easy it is, will you try?


21 Responses to Garlic: it’s not too late to plant

  1. Sigh, I wish I had a garden… Maybe next year.

  2. Me, too. Why don’t the Cheryls have gardens? Double sigh. That garlic looks gorgeous.

  3. Rosa says:

    I’d love to have a garden and grow garlic!



  4. Got mine planted. I first planted garlic as an insect repellant for a climbing rose that was struggling. It worked so well, this year I planted about 50 cloves in my rose beds. I’ll have fewer bugs and a bounty of garlic. Not a bad deal!

    Also, I used organic garlic from the Farmers’ Market. They’re more sure to grow since the ubiquitous Chinese garlic has likely been treated to last longer.

  5. Barb says:

    Excellent idea! I will plant some as well.

  6. Tracey says:

    Do you need full sun, or does it not matter? Had local garlic this year and it’s so much milder and nicer than supermarket, I’d love to plant some of the remaining cloves!


  7. Tracey says:


  8. eunjoopaek says:

    Can you plant them in a clay pot? *sigh* I wish I had a patch of dirt to plant. The photo looks great.

  9. Sharon Haslam says:

    I don’t use fresh garlic cause my hubby has a super sensitive stomach to the stuff….however, the scapes intrigue me. When I put a garden in (next year) I may have to try some.

  10. Marusya says:

    Such a hopeful idea…and easy!

  11. Cathy says:

    I grow about 2000 garlic plants and it’s the easiest crop I grow.

    If you want to try it in a clay pot, I recommend planting in spring, not fall, or it will most likely die over the winter. Also, make sure you keep it WELL watered as pots dry out much faster than the ground.

    Garlic scapes are more pungent than full-grown bulbs/cloves, so they may have the same or worse intestinal result.

    It’s best NOT to use garlic purchased at the grocery store, as they may have been treated with growth inhibitor and/or may transmit disease. Also, the majority of garlic found in the supermarket is what is called “softneck” garlic. It is more pungent than “hardneck”, doesn’t throw a scape and will store for many months. It is the type of garlic used for braids, too, but the most common type of homegrown garlic is the “hardneck” type. There are great resources out there for seed garlic, as well as planting information. I recommend googling Boundary Garlic for info and Peaceful Valley Organic Grower’s Supply for seed stock (it’s excellent and the most reasonably priced.)

  12. Lori Batchler says:

    I love garlic and plan on planting some in the next day or so. When I eat it, I reek for days!!! I have walked past people and they actually turned around to look at me :)~ I know parsley helps to neutralize the odor, but I eat garlic in everything.
    Also, after the harvest, how long will it keep, and how do you dry it and store it?

  13. Lori Batchler says:

    Ps I love your site. I would like to see more recipes for vegan food.
    I forgot to mention that I’m from the upper part of SC, if that matters about the garlic.

  14. Rooibos Tea Health Benefits…

    […]Garlic: it’s not too late to plant « Dana McCauley’s food blog[…]…

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