Growing Great Garlic by Claire McKay

Fall is planting time!

Use good Canadian garlic stock (not from the grocery store) . You should use hardneck garlic for Ontario growing.

Plant in October or 3 weeks before ground freezes. Rotate your crop of garlic to a different location each year (if possible).

Break apart the cloves a few days before planting and keep the papery skin on the clove

Plant 4-8 inches apart, 2 to 3 inches deep in well drained, composted soil – make sure that the pointed end is up

Add bone meal when planting and cover with about 2 to 3 inches of shredded leaves or mulch

In the spring

If you used heavy mulch, remove some of the mulch, leaving 2 or 3 inches of loose mulch – grass leaves work very well. Fertilize with fish or seaweed fertilizer. Do not over water.


Stop watering a few weeks before harvesting.

Once the scapes appear, cut them off after 1 or 2 loops appear and before they flower. Eat and enjoy the scapes.

Garlic is ready when 3 bottom leaves have turned brown, usually late July if planted in the fall.

Test a few by scraping back the soil and feeling the bulb.

Carefully lift the bulbs and brush off the soil. Make sure you harvest when the soil is dry.

Leave the leaves and roots on the stalks.

Cure in a warm shady spot for 2 weeks – the energy from the leaves will go into the bulb

Once they are dry, remove any dirt and cut some of the root away. For storing, leave some of the stalk on which you can use for braiding or hanging.

Store in a cool dark dry place (60 to 65 degrees) – not in a moist basement. Flavor will increase as bulbs dry. Save some of the best and largest bulbs for planting in the fall.

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