Seed Swaps


Allium sativum

Garlic is a plant which belongs to the Allium genus. The origin of this plant's scientific name epithet (sativum) means 'having been cultivated'.

There are different types of garlic – the most common being hardneck garlic and softneck garlic. It is important to get the right kind of garlic for your area, as garlic can be day-length sensitive. Hardneck garlic is generally grown in cooler climates, whilst softneck garlic is generally grown closer to the equator.

This plant is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. 41

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Floral white, and typically produces a strong garlic fragrance.

It is an edible herb / vegetable that typically grows as an annual, which is defined as a plant that matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of a single year.

Normally reaching to a mature height of 1.30 feet (40.0 cm). Expect blooming to occur in early summer and harvesting to start by late spring.

Popular varieties of Garlic with home gardeners are Solent Wight, Chesnok Red, Music, Inchelium Red and Spanish Roja.

Russia is thought to be the country of origin for Garlic.

As Garlic is a low maintanence plant, it is great for beginner gardeners and those that like gardens that don't need much overseeing.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Garlic have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Garlic

  • Full Sun

  • Medium

Ensure not to overwater garlic plants, especially in the weeks immediately before harvesting.

Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun and remember to water moderately. As a rough idea of the types of climates Garlic does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 3 and 8. Ensure your soil is loamy and has a ph of between 6.0 and 7.0 as Garlic is a weakly acidic soil - neutral soil loving plant. Keep in mind when planting that Garlic is thought of as very hardy, so this plant will tend to survive through freezing conditions.

See our list of companion Plants for Garlic to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Garlic from seed

Most modern garlic does not produce viable seed; therefore, it is propagated by breaking apart a head into individual cloves.

Shortly before planting your garlic, carefully break the cloves apart into separate pieces (this process is known as ‘cracking’) Make sure that the section that was attached to the garlic basal plate (hard flat section at the base) for each one is still intact and not damaged. Make sure you break the garlic bulb apart no more than 24 hours before planting – the roots will form from the base, so it’s best to not let this dry out to ensure that roots set quickly.

Select the largest garlic cloves, and plant these as they will create the largest bulbs when grown.

To grow from seed, direct-sow approx 1cm deep, at the distance at which you will want final plants.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 3.9 inches (10.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.98 inches (2.5 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 0°C / 32°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Garlic

There are a number of different strategies you can use for planting garlic, each will result in slightly different yields. You can plant garlic in double or single rows, or intensively plant with smaller distance between each plant – this will result in smaller bulbs.

Cover the planted garlic cloves with mulch to regulate soil moisture and temperature levels – however this is not recommended for areas where moisture levels are already high.

“Chill garlic cloves in the fridge for a few weeks (this improves bulb development). You can skip this step but it helps grow bigger garlic.

To prevent rotting in the soil, here’s a little tip: soak your cloves in a glass jar with equal quantities of baking soda to organic liquid seaweed for 2 hours. e.g. for 8-10 cloves (1 average bulb) = 1 tblspn baking soda: 1 tblspn seaweed. Increase quantity depending on number of cloves you’re planting."6

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Garlic is a very hardy plant.

Harvesting Garlic

It is generally recommended that you remove the scape, which is a flowering stem that comes up from the centre of the leaves; most modern garlic does not produce viable seed, and so, in those cases the flower is most useful as an edible. The ideal time to harvest the scape is when it has curled around on itself, but before the 2nd portion straightens out. Removing the scape allows the plant to focus its energy on the bulb, instead of the bulbil that will form if the scape is allowed to grow.

The scape can be used in a wide variety of dishes, and lends a mild garlic flavour. The scape can also be pickled.

After you pull the garlic up, leave the whole plants (do not remove the leaves) to dry for 1-4 weeks, indoors or undercover. Protect from direct sun and moisture.
Once they are dry you can plait them see 6 for a video, and hang them, or store them in a cool airy, dry location. Do not store them in airtight containers.
It is a good idea to store them where you can easily check on them to make sure none of them are going off. Sometimes just one clove will go off (become soft, and emit a pungent odor). If you remove just the one off clove, the rest of the bulb may remain fine.

Seed Saving Garlic

A very few varieties of garlic will produce true botanical seeds if the bulbils are removed soon after spathe break. This frees up space and nutrients for use by developing flowers.

(This step may well become unnecessary as seed saving practices restore garlic’s ability to produce seed independently; second and third generation plants from seed exhibit fewer bulbils overall.).

Suitable varieties tend to have came out of the former soviet union in recent decades, and are primarily in the purple stripe and marbled purple stripe groups, though seeds have also been obtained from cultivars in other groups. Male-sterility is common among garlic cultivars, so planting several varieties close together may allow pollen from fertile cultivars to pollinate flowers on male-sterile plants.

After drying you can save whole bulbs until the next planting date, Store them as for eating garlic. Break them into cloves shortly before planting.

To grow your own good size garlic can take several years. the first year of planing, you may bot get many large bulbs. Select the largest cloves out of any harvest and replant those the following year. That second harvest will have more decent size bulbs. By the third year, you should be getting a good harvest. If not, try a different variety or improve your soil to be more freely draining and/or rich.

How long does Garlic take to grow?

These estimates for how long Garlic takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Garlic to germinate?
57 days

Average 57 days | Min 1 days | Max 225 days (494)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Garlic?
+ 13 days

Average 13 days | Min 2 days | Max 44 days (19)

Days to Maturity How long until Garlic is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 66 days

Average 66 days | Min 7 days | Max 502 days (17)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Garlic?
= 136 days

Garlic Etymology

The word Garlic is from the Old English gārlēac, which in turn is from gār (“spear”, in reference to the cloves) + lēac (“leek”) 3

Garlic Folklore & Trivia

Garlic is one of the oldest cultivated food plants – its use dates back about 6000 years and is used in a culinary sense in almost every culture in the world 2
China is the biggest producer of Garlic in the world. 2
Garlic has a long history of medicinal use.1

Other names for Garlic

Cultivated garlic, Common garlic, Garden garlic, Alho, Ail

Allium sativum L.

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