» The Garden Index
» Home Page
» Building the Garden

Garlic, Allium Sativum
Plant Height: 10-30"
Planting Depth: 1-2"
Soil: Rich, Well Drained
Plant Spacing: 6"
Maturity: 6-8 months
Full Sun
Moderate Water
Planted In Garden:
Nov. 1, 2005


Garlic     (Allium Sativum)

Garlic plants are easy to grow and reach in excess of 3 feet tall when flowering. The leaves are flat, grass like, and very pointed. Hardneck garlic forms many small white flowers in a round cluster in early summer. Miniature bulbs, called bulbils, may form in the flower head. The underground bulbs contain four to twenty cloves encompassed in a paper like covering—one layer for each leaf on the plant.
The Two Sub-Species:
1. Hardneck (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon): Hardneck varieties are further classified into Purple Stripe, Porcelain, and Rocambole types. They send up a central stalk, called a scape, which, if left to mature, is topped with a flowering seed cap. They typically have large, easy-peeling cloves, and a rich, aromatic flavor that is not too spicy. They often develop more colorful bulbs and offer a wider range of flavors than softneck varieties. They are preferred for northern climates and can generally be stored for three to six months.
2. Softneck (Allium sativum var. sativum): Also called braiding garlic, softneck garlics are divided into Silverskin, Artichoke, and Turban types. They usually do not produce a flower spike, are easier to grow, more productive, and more adaptable to a wider range of climates than the hardneck type. They generally have a spicier flavor and mature faster. Typically, these garlics are grown in southern California and near the Gulf of Mexico where winters are moderate. They can be stored for up to a year or more under proper conditions, with the Silverskin types being the best keepers.

Propagation: Garlic is propagated by planting cloves (sections of the bulb), or bulbils which are collected from the flowering tops of hardneck types. Each clove or bulbil will develop into a bulb. For the best production, cloves are planted directly into the ground in the fall, four to six weeks before the ground freezes. Garlic can also be sown in early spring. Bulbils are best started in nursery flats in late winter and then planted outside once leaf growth is present. Propagating from bulbils generally produces lower yields and may take two to three years to produce full-size bulbs.
Soil & Water: Garlic prefers rich, well-drained soil, full sun, and regular water. Mulch heavily to hold moisture and control weeds.
Harvesting: The bulbs are harvested in early summer in areas where the garlic is fall planted, and in mid to late summer in areas where it is spring planted. Harvest is usually done as the plants start to die back and 1/2 to 2/3 of the leaf material is yellow or brown, turning from a succulent, fleshy texture to a dry, papery sheath.

Early spring growth, April 9th, 2006
Garlic June 19, about ready

content property of Michigan Interactive™ ©since 1995 all rights reserved

ATV - Boating - Calendar - Fishing - Gardening - Golf - Hiking - Lodging - Mushrooms - Canoe Kayak - Snowmobiling - Maps