And so in went the garlic!

I have been thinking about planting garlic since we were eating scapes from the farmer’s market in May!  So I was pretty excited to have some really nice big garlic from a few different farms to try to grow in my own garden. Can you believe that last year at this time we had SNOW?  Me either.  Autumn has been nice to us this year as far as temperatures, harvest yields, and being able to go pick apples in November!  Last year, I hadn’t listened to the farmer’s adages about a month before the frost, nor did I heed their warnings at the final outdoor farmer’s markets when they probed and pushed, “did ya get your garlic yet?” Well this year I had a little help from some friends and I’m hoping for garlic in the spring!


I cannot wait to see if the next garden experiment works!!  Our amended garden bed has benefited from the help of so many friends, fowl, and fierce digging.

Our first friendly helpers were the chickens we raised for meat. We let the freedom rangers loose on the garden after we harvested the last of the veggies.  They were able to pick off scraps of plants and anything green that was left and really cleaned up the garden.They did amazing work!  With a nice layer of  manure working its magic, I turned what I could and waited.

Then the week I wanted to plant the garlic, it was too wet and rained every other day.  This gave me more time to plan and honestly get a little more excited for planting. Spring time is the time for planting baby seeds when there is such darkness and stir crazed-finally turned outside madness for getting back to the soil.


Finally, I picked over the garlic I had and when I finally sorted the biggest cloves out of the heads of garlic, my neighbor called.  She has a beautiful garden, greenhouse, and apple trees and she offered up some of her homegrown seed garlic.  Seed garlic, I learned, are the heads of garlic that you store well in a cool environment that do not grow mold and they usually tend to be bigger in size.  So she came by and checked on my progress and talked me into planting that day.

So in went the garlic.  I carried out my plan and hopefully we’ll see some scapes in the spring!

First time planting garlic Do’s and Don’ts


  • Do find some locally grown organic garlic from your neighborhood friendly farmer or farmer’s market

  • Don’t just grab some from the store and assume it will work.  Grocery store garlic may have been treated to have longer shelf life which makes them harder to grow.

    grocery store conventionally grown garlic
  • Do go for the bigger bulbs. Bigger is better, unless of course, you like a variety that is smaller, then find the kind you like and try planting that variety.  We like Music for its hit of red color and the size of the cloves, and German for its tremendous size!

  • Do planting a month before the frost

  • Don’t plant them too shallow or deep.  Plant them about 2-3 inches deep, or the average person’s finger length up here in the North

  • Do plant with the pointed side up!


  • Don’t over crowd them.  Plant cloves 6-8 inches apart in every direction, or the average person’s hand span between each planting ( I love the hand and finger analogies!)

  • Don’t let them get wet.  My favorite gardening book, The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, recommends turning the soil. adding compost and not to over fertilize or over water.  

garlic bed ready for its straw mulch
  • Do mulch the garlic once is planted in the dirt.  If you live up North like we do then mulching over the winter will help and come Spring remove the mulch after the frost has passed.


Happy garlic growing!