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How to Grow Garlic From Cloves

By James Marshall
The individual sections of a garlic bulb are known as cloves.

Garlic, or Allium sativum, is a plant in the onion family that is also a close relative of the chive, leek and shallot. It originates from central Asia, and growers cultivate it in temperate climates throughout the world. Gardeners raise garlic primarily as a seasoning, although it also has uses in herbal medicine. Garlic does not produce true seed, so gardeners typically propagate it from the bulbs, or cloves.

Select a planting site for garlic cloves that has full sun and good drainage. The planting site cannot be disturbed for eight months, as garlic requires this length of time to mature. Avoid planting garlic in an area where you grew any member of the onion family the previous year.

Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches with a rototiller. Sandy loam is best for garlic; heavy clay can cause the bulbs to become misshapen. Add 1 lb. of organic compost for every square foot of planting area. Add limestone if necessary to raise the soil pH to between 6 and 7. Spread 1 lb. of 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area with a broadcast spreader.

Divide the garlic bulbs into individual cloves during the fall before the first frost. Plant the cloves at a depth of about 2 inches with the pointed end facing up. Space cloves 6 inches apart, and space the rows at least 1 foot apart. Water garlic immediately after planting early in the day.

Water the garlic cloves with 1 inch of water once per week, ensuring the soil does not remain wet, and stop watering when the tops fall over and turn yellow. Apply 2 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer along the rows of garlic in the spring when the shoots reach a height of 4 to 6 inches.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden trowel
  • Rototiller
  • Organic compost
  • Limestone
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Broadcast spreader

About the Author


James Marshall began writing professionally in 2006. He specializes in health articles for content providers such as eHow. Marshall has a Bachelor of Science in biology and mathematics, with minors in chemistry and computer science, from Stephen F. Austin University.