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Jun 23, 2011 10:17 PM

Planting garlic (might be adding to my stupid question repertoire)

So at one time I had planted garlic plants that were already started that I bought from a local nursery. I loved having the fresh garlic once it was ready! There is nothing like the smell and tasting of fresh garlic coming out of the kitchen. Anyway... (and here is where I might really start sounding stupid...) Could I basically just take a garlic and break the cloves up and plant those?

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  1. Sure. I do it all the time. It is really better, right?

    I'm assuming you mean the garlic you grew. Garlic from the store might have chemicals on it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sue in Mt P

      Yeah, I am mostly talking about garlic I have already grown. Or even ones I get from the farmers markets. Could I just save some clove and start my own from that? This is probably basic

      1. re: LadyGuise

        yes you can plant garlic cloves and have awesome garlic! I prefer the purple garlic.

        You can even plant it in the fall, no need to wait til spring (you will have enough to do).

        Keep in mind, if garlic garden is on the dry side, you will have hotter stronger garlic. Same applies to onion, radish etc. They need water to grow but dryer will give you stronger.

        I used to grow garlic just for my dad and every Christmas he received a lovely braid of home grown garlic from me !

    2. If you search the web for garlic bulbs for planting
      you will find many suppliers who have many varieties with different tastes. Grocery stores usually only carry one type of garlic.

      1. It will most certainly work! You can use a clove of one you grew (usually the largest ones are best) or even store bought garlic. Both will grow. Just be sure to have the sprouting end pointed upward when planting.

        Normally, the best time to plant out garlic is in October, so you can get a good spring harvest. But there have been instances where I've planted out in January and got some good crops in July/August.

        13 Replies
        1. re: Novelli

          Thanks Novelli! This is a huge help!!!!! I think I am going to throw some in now and some in around Oct just to test it out and see what I get. I'm excited!!!! Wish me luck!!!

          1. re: LadyGuise

            Good luck! I think you'll be pleased with the outcome.

            1. re: LadyGuise

              Not sure what part of the country you're in, but normally it takes the freezing to allow the garlic to develop into its bulb. That's why you plant in late fall just before freeze.

              Either use the largest cloves of garlic that you've grown or buy garlic heads intended for planting. Divide into cloves and plant 1 1/2 - 2" deep. Cover with dirt and then mulch heavily so they don't freeze and thaw repeatedly over the winter. In the spring, if you've planted a hardneck variety, you'll see a stem with a pointed flower bulge come up and curl around. Once this has curled around, cut this scape off and enjoy. They are delicious and an extra treat of the hardneck garlic. Then later in the summer when the leaves sart to die back, you can dig up your heads and dry them to use and store over the next several months.

            2. re: Novelli

              I would add that if you're replanting from your own garlic harvest, save the largest _heads_ to replant, not just a large clove. A large single clove won't guarantee a good head the next year. If you save and replant the largest heads year in year out, you'll soon develop your own best "variety" for your garden's microclimate. Here in TN, I plant garlic in mid-September and harvest in late June the next year.

              1. re: TNExplorer

                I have not had much success growing garlic even buying from the expensive online purveyers. It is rare that a clove from one of those prececious heads produces more than a couple of cloves. Should I just leave the garlic in the ground and let it proliferate year by year rather than harvesting and replanting in the fall?

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Garlic is a heavy feeder. I was also told that if I didn't cut the flowering scapes off, the bulbs would be smaller because the flower gets all the energy. I would put down more composted manure before planting in October. Perhaps get your soil tested, it might be low in whatever fosters bulb development.

                  1. re: dfrostnh

                    well, I put down compost when planting and I topdressed with compost in the spring. My soil is fine and other bulbs like lilies grow fine. But I was interested in the comment that a single clove would not creat a head of garlic. when I spend $8 or so for a head of garlic for planting, I certainly expect to generate heads from the individual cloves.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      A single clove should produce a head of garlic. I'm in NH, zone 5a and originally purchased hard neck garlic from local growers. I think $2.50 a bulb was a lot! The compost I use is composted horse manure that has been mixed with kitchen scraps and wood ashes - a great Craigslist find that I visit every spring. It is my understanding that in my area, hard necks do best. The bulb I pulled yesterday is on the small side, maybe 4 or 5 large cloves. I didn't side dress with organic vegetable fertilizer like I should have. My lilies will grow in poor soil. You should call your cooperative extension agent for help ... or look around to see what other people in your area area doing.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I plant single cloves, they grow into small full heads

                        1. re: iL Divo

                          I had a neighbor once who had a garlic plot which was not fully harvested every year. Might it be a viable approach to leave some of these plants in the ground, or do they need to be harvested and then replanted in the fall?

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            sorry I don't pay attention.
                            I love the tiny little heads that form.
                            I plant a head broken up every year.
                            not sure if old ones come up again.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              For some varieties, you can leave them in forever until you're ready. You can get monster sized garlic this way. They tend to be really mild.

                2. root side down, pointy side up, good soil, water, watch it pop up.
                  enjoy the sprigs that come up, tender green and good salad additives

                  1. Try planting your garlic in the fall for a spring harvest.

                    Garlic needs a cold period during it's growth to break into good cloves.