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How to Plant Garlic in Ontario

garlic image by Marek Kosmal from

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


It takes approximately 100 to 120 days for garlic plants to reach maturity after you've planted them.

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