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Growing garlic in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Garlic grows best in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil with pH between 6.0 and 7.0.
  • Plant cloves in the fall, usually one or two weeks after the first killing frost.
  • Unless you control weeds early, they can easily overtake young garlic plants.
  • Insects are not a major problem with garlic, although onion maggot is a potential pest.
  • Depending on variety and climate zone, harvest garlic between late June and late July.
White harvested garlic bulbs

Culinary cloves

  • Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is a close relative of onions and chives.
  • It is a medicinal and culinary herb.
  • Garlic forms bulbs that separate into many cloves.
  • Each clove is covered with a white-purplish or pinkish, papery sheath.

Soil pH and fertility

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Selecting plants

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Planting

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How to keep your garlic plants healthy and productive

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Many things can affect garlic leaves and bulbs. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis. 

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools What insect is this? and What's wrong with my plant? or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.

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Authors: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, Carl J. Rosen and Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturalist

Reviewed in 2022

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