Vegetable Garden

Planting Garlic (Allium sativum) Cloves in the Autumn

October 18, 2010

Garlic is one of the easiest vegetables to grow and takes just a few simple steps.

How to Grow Your Own Garlic - Step by Step Guide

Three bulbs of garlic can divide into 30 – 50 individual cloves. Every clove you plant should develop into a new bulb in just a few months. That’s a year’s worth of garlic for your kitchen growing in less than two metres of space. It makes sense to give it a go doesn’t it?

Garlic Growing Tips

As with onions, garlic prefers a sunny site in soil that has not been freshly manured.

Garlic doesn’t like heavy or badly drained soil or it may rot. If you’ve got heavy soil you could try planting cloves into individual module trays in the autumn, that you remove and transplant into the soil in the Spring.  Alternatively plant your garlic in large containers.

Garlic takes a long time to grow and most types need cool temperatures of about 0ºc – 10ºc (32ºf – 50ºf) for a month or so to fully mature. If you plant it in the autumn/fall, you can expect to harvest your garlic around mid summer. Check whether the garlic variety you have bought is for Autumn or Spring planting.

It’s important to buy bulbs from reputable suppliers as they’re likely to have been certified disease free.  If you do this you can pretty much guarantee they will grow well for you and you can plant next years crop from bulbs you’ve saved.

How to plant garlic

Prepare the soil by removing all the weeds, roots and all, then remove any large stones and finally rake until the surface of the soil is smooth. Bulbs usually come in packets of three. Split the bulbs into individual cloves.

How to grow your own garlic - step by step guideLay the cloves on the top of the soil in a line, spacing them between 10cm (4in) to 18cm (7in) apart. Check the packet of the bulbs for more specific spacing guidelines relevant to the variety you’ve chosen. Once they’re all laid out in place, begin to plant the cloves up to 10 cm (4in) deep in sandy soils, or 2.5 in (1 in) in heavier. If you lay the cloves out on top of the soil before planting them, you’ll be able to see where you bury them as you move along the line. How to Grow Your Own Garlic - Step by Step GuideIt will also give you a second chance to check that you’re planting them the right way up. If your soil is in any way heavy use a dibble to make the hole and do not force the clove in – it’s easy to damage the clove if treated roughly.

Once in the ground garlic doesn’t need much looking after other than weeding.  When the leaves have turned yellow, usually around June to August, use a fork to loosen and dig up the bulbs and leave them to dry for a couple of weeks, preferably outside if it’s sunny, or inside in an airy place if not.  When the bulbs are fully dry they can be plaited or stored in a frost-free, dry place.  Depending upon the variety grown, garlic will keep for up to a year.

Here’s how Dee plant’s it at home, and where she shares a few tips about bulb dormancy and the need for some cooler temperatures needed to enable to clove to become a bulb.

Have you grown your own garlic before? Are you tempted to give it a go? It’s surprisingly easy and very satisfying.


  • Reply Susan October 18, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Good info, & I LOVE the new look!!!! Tasty:) I'm so inspired & looking forward to a day off, wasting too much time playing with new templates.

  • Reply Ken McGuire October 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Giving me great ideas for the patch I'm in the process of clearing in the garden. I made a half-hearted effort back at the start of the summer but am determined by next summer to grow garlic, onions, peppers and some chili. Next belt of reasonable weather and I'm out with the shovel to finish it off.

    Is there a stage where it gets too late to plant garlic?

  • Reply Greenside Up October 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks Susan, I know what you mean!

    Ken I'm delighted you're thinking about growing your own – if you're a foodie you can't beat it for flavour, freshness and the satisfaction of cooking your own veg! If you don't have time to get to the patch now just cover it with black plastic until you're ready to stop any more weeds growing.

    Garlic takes a long time to grow so generally the earlier it's planted the better. It's usually recommend to plant early to late autumn (Sept to Nov). Garlic that's sold for winter planting usually needs cold temperatures for the bulbs to form fully too. If you don't have time now, I've always had success with planting in spring time as soon as the soil is workable (ie not frozen or sticky), around early March.

    Hope that helps!

  • Reply Ken McGuire October 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Helps indeed! Here's hoping the weather is good at the weekend. Have plenty of garlic in the press so will keep a few bits spare to work from.

  • Reply Moneypenny August 23, 2011 at 10:36 am

    An interesting post and a so lovely blog I love to follow !
    Keep on !


  • Reply Greenside Up August 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Thanks Moneypenny 😀

  • Reply Pat Murphy November 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Exactly what I needed to know! Thanks, Dee

    • Reply greensideupveg November 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Great, glad to help 😀 any questions Pat, give me a shout.

  • Reply What's in the gardening bag? - Greenside Up September 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

    […] A dibber (or dibble depending where you’re from). Useful for making holes in the soil for garlic etc. […]

  • Reply What can I grow in my small vegetable garden? - Greenside Up September 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    […] Garlic – again an Allium, when you plant one clove, it will develop into a whole bulb and is very easy to grow once you follow the planting guide. […]

  • Reply Now's a great time to grow your own garlic! October 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    […] Here’s an old blog post explaining how to grow your own garlic. Will you be growing your own garlic this autumn? […]

  • Reply Thistlekeeping - Thistlewood Farm November 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    […] thinking about planting these right now (so […]

  • Reply Reflecting - 14 Gardening Articles for 2014Greenside Up April 22, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    […] No. 8 – How to Plant Garlic in the Autumn […]

  • Reply Thistlekeeping - Thistlewood Farm September 13, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    […] thinking about planting these right now (so […]

  • Comments:

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.