Planting, Growing and Harvesting Great Garlic

"Certified Naturally Grown"

Pampatike Organic Farm

King William, Virginia


Here are some tips we have acquired over the many years that we've grown garlic. These tips work for both stiffneck and elephant garlic.

Garlic likes full sun and moist conditions, but not waterlogging in winter. Traditionally, individual cloves are planted into well-composted soil, 2 to 4 inches deep, 4 inches apart, pointed side up, in late October. Roots establish first, then shoots in late fall. Mulch with aged compost, leaves or straw and keep bed weeded. Growth will slow or end in cold weather, then rebound in late winter as air and soil temperatures begin to warm. Plan on an 8-9 month season for the garlic bed. We have not encountered any pests in our many decades here.

A single clove planted in autumn swells up into a larger clove, called a monobulb. If the season is long enough, this will split into more cloves. A flower scape will appear in late spring. Remove the scape if you want to harvest nice big bulbs in June or July. Scapes are great for eating, too.

To harvest, gently dig bulb, trying not to cut or nick it with your spade. Gently brush off dirt from bulb and roots. Elephant garlic bulbs will have corms that you can save for future planting. Cut roots to within 1 inch of the bulb and fluff to remove remaining dirt (this helps prevent moisture from being drawn into the bulb). Leave stalk. Gather several stalks into a bundle, tie together, and hang in a dark, dry, well-ventilated shed, porch or closet for several weeks. This enables the bulb to cure for longer storage. After curing, remove stalk and store bulbs in a dry, darkish spot in your kitchen or pantry. Remove cloves from the bulb and peel skin when you’re ready to eat them. Enjoy!

See below for picture of garlic growing in our market garden (notice the weed-free area between rows .. this is better for the garlic and makes harvesting easier).

garlic bed    

Pampatike produce, honey & eggs are sold at Ashland Farmers Market year-round. See for market details.


Carroll Curtis & Brian Sinclair

Pampatike Organic Farm

King William, Virginia 23086 USA