How to Plant Seed Garlic


Garlic is prized for its sharp, pungent flavor. Used to flavor dishes, the gloves are peeled, sliced or crushed. Varieties of garlic range from mild to extra strong. Seed garlic is a garlic bulb. The outer paper-like skin is removed and reveals the cloves inside. Each clove grows into a new garlic bulb. The larger the clove, the larger the bulb it grows. Choose healthy, large bulbs that are free from damage to grow the best garlic.

Step 1

Prepare a well-drained garden bed in full sun in late fall before the ground freezes. Lay a 2-inch layer of compost over the bed and till it in to a 10-inch depth to aid drainage and nutrition.

Step 2

Apply 3 pounds of balanced general purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed. Till it into the soil two weeks before planting commences.

Step 3

Break apart the garlic bulb. Choose the largest cloves that have no damage to plant. The outside cloves are largest, with those inside becoming smaller.

Step 4

Sow each clove 1-inch deep with the pointed side facing up. Space the cloves 5-inches apart in rows that are 12 inches apart.

Step 5

Water the bed thoroughly after planting. Lay a 3-inch layer of straw mulch over the bed to preserve soil temperature and prevent frost heaving from the ground thawing and freezing.

Step 6

Keep the bed moist but not soaking wet at all times once the ground has thawed. Begin allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering once the foliage begins to yellow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Too much soil moisture will cause the bulbs to rot. Plant garlic in containers if your winter soil holds on to too much water.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


  • Clemson University Extension:Onions, Leeks, Shallots and Garlic
Keywords: planting seed garlic, growing garlic cloves, sowing garlic bulbs

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.