How to Plant Garlic in Ontario


Garlic (Allium sativum) adds rich flavor to many foods. Instead of buying garlic at a grocery store, grow your own fresh garlic in your backyard. Garlic is a cool-season crop that does well in the Canadian province of Ontario's East Coast climate. Two garlic types are grown in the province: hardneck varieties like Porcelain and Rocambole, and larger softneck varieties like Turban and Silverskin. Plant your garlic in the fall, and it will be ready for harvest in the summer of the following year.

Step 1

Select and clear the area where you will plant your garlic. They require full sun. Remove all surface vegetation and debris, like rocks and sticks.

Step 2

Break up the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches with a spade, and mix in 3 to 4 inches of aged compost. Compost provides garlic with the nitrogen it needs to develop properly, according to Seeds of Diversity Canada. Garlic needs rich, loose soil to support its underground growth.

Step 3

Apply a standard vegetable garden fertilizer according to guidelines on its label, since potency varies widely by brand. There are no Ontario-specific fertilizer recommendations, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture.

Step 4

Bury each clove approximately 2 inches deep with the pointed end up. In northern Ontario, starting in Ottawa, bury the cloves an inch deeper to protect them from frost. Space each clove 4 to 6 inches apart and, if you're growing more than one row, separate each row by 12 inches.

Step 5

Water your garlic regularly, making sure it gets approximately 1 inch of water per week, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. Stop watering when the garlic enters dormancy in the winter, and resume in the spring when it has green growths.

Step 6

Place a 4-inch layer of straw around your garlic plants. This conserves moisture during Ontario's growing season and also insulates the bulbs from frost during the winter. This is recommended in all regions and required in Eastern Ontario.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Aged compost
  • Garden fertilizer
  • Garlic cloves
  • Mulch


  • "Northeast Home Landscaping: Including Southeast Canada"; Roger Holmes and Greg Grant; 2006
  • Seeds of Diversity Canada: Choosing, Growing, Using and Selling Garlic for Small-Scale Growers in Ontario
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture: Garlic Production Factsheet
Keywords: planting garlic, Ontario garlic planting, Ontario garlic garden

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.