How to Grow Great Garlic in your Garden

Please join us for an online Garlic Planting Party sponsored by Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply! Simply post your favorite way to use garlic and you’ll be entered to win a prize package that includes 1 pound of Purple Italian organic garlic seed.

Join the Garlic Celebration

The folks at Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden have partnered with 8 garden bloggers for a one-of-a-kind online Garlic Planting Party to celebrate Allium sativum.

It’s easy to join the party. All you have to do is post a comment on this blog and on as many other participating blogs as you like. The party starts on October 10 and ends October 17.

Each blog will offer a different kind of organic garlic seed from Peaceful Valley/Grow, experts in growing garlic. I chose the organic Purple Italian because it’s a classic garlic that’s perfect for all kinds of Mediterranean recipes.

In addition to the garlic, the prize packages include 1 quart of Liquid Kelp extract for soaking garlic cloves overnight before planting, a 10-gallon Smart Pot for growing garlic in a container, 1 Garlic Twist for easy mincing of your garden fresh, homegrown garlic and a full-color garlic print suitable for hanging.

I hope you’ll attend our online garlic festival as we sing the praises of this ancient and indispensable herb.

4 Easy Tips for Planting Garlic

  1. Plant 4-6 weeks before the first hard freeze so the garlic can start to root and grow.
  2. Buy good quality, organic garlic seed. Look for fresh, unblemished bulbs that don’t have any soft spots or other problems. Soak seeds overnight in Liquid Kelp before planting.
  3. Locate a sunny spot. Plant in well-drained, loose soil that’s rich in organic matter (like compost). Plant only the largest cloves for best results. Separate cloves from the bulb carefully and plant each clove with the pointed end up, 1-2 inches deep and about 3-5 inches apart. Cover with soil and a thick layer of mulch. Keep garlic from drying out over the winter.
  4. Feed garlic with a high-nitrogen fertilizer in spring when the garlic starts growing. Garlic is ready to harvest when about half the leaves turn brown and fall over. Carefully dig garlic with a garden fork. Use garlic fresh or let it cure to extend shelf life.

If you plant hardneck garlic–like organic Purple Italian–watch for the tall flower stalks called scapes to emerge and cut them while they’re still young and tender. (The scapes are delicious grilled, sauteed or stir fried.)

Bulbs will grow larger if the plant’s energy isn’t spent on producing a stalk and aerial cloves called bulbils.  Leave one scape intact to signal when garlic is ready to harvest when the scape unfurls.

Recipe for Baked Garlic

One of my favorite recipes for home-grown garlic is baked and spread on crusty bread or crackers.

This is an easy recipe and the rich fragrance of the garlic baking adds to its appeal.

Whenever you use fresh, chopped garlic, allow time for it to sit a few minutes before cooking.

This respite, about 10-15 minutes, allows the garlic’s health-promoting compound called allicin to form.


One or two whole garlic bulbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried herbs such as oregano or leaf thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel the loose, papery skins off the garlic bulbs; slice off the top of each clove.
  3. Lightly drizzle each clove with olive oil and sprinkle with the herb(s) of your choice.
  4. Place in a garlic baker or seal in a foil bundle and bake for about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove garlic baker lid or carefully open foil and return to the uncovered garlic to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the garlic is lightly browned.
  6. Cool slightly before serving; squeeze cloves from their skins while still warm and spread on bread or crackers.

What’s your favorite way to use garlic in your cooking? Please post your comment here to be entered to win a Peaceful Valley/ Garlic Planting Party prize package. One comment will be selected at random from all comments posted by Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at midnight Pacific Time.

While you’re at it, please stop in at the other garden blogger’s sites for a chance to win these varieties, too:

Chiot’s Run has the Garlic Combo Pack (4 varieties of garlic, plus French Red shallots)

North Coast Gardening has organic Russian Red hardneck garlic

Living Homegrown has organic German Red hardneck garlic

Dirt Du Jour has organic French Red shallots

Gardenerd has organic California Early White softneck garlic

A Suburban Farmer has organic Purple Glazer hardneck garlic

Peaceful Valley/ has Bogatyr hardneck garlic


Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


I love roasted garlic cloves hidden in homemade whole wheat bread.
Now to grow it:
First attempt at planting garlic this year—got 2 garlic bulbs; split them apart into the individual cloves; took all the skin off the cloves and planted. THEN watched video where I saw NOT to take the skin off the cloves.
Ready to do it right—-hope I win

I was reading around on your site (first time here) and enjoyed several of the entries. Of special note is the one in “water issues” that talks about rainwater harvesting. I live in California and was not aware that it may be illegal in certain areas to collect and use rainwater!!! Go figure! Anyway, we collect rainwater in two 1,500 gallon tanks and use it to water our orchard. Much cheaper than pumping out of the well! I have never grown garlic, though I have eaten quite a bit 😉 I guess I should try my hand at growing it! Would love to win the prize package! Thanks!

Hi – I grew hardneck last year for the first time. I like it because I think it is a better keeper.

Baked garlic! That sounds awesome! I was just thinking of growing the garlic for run-of-the-mill cooking (I.e., a little bit in everything), but now I have to try it baked on crackers,

I love garlic always and in everything but chocolate

We put garlic in just about everything. One of my favorites is on homemade pizza. I don’t use pizza sauce – I just spread some tomato sauce, and then sprinkle with herbs from the garden and toss some finely sliced garlic around. Add a bit of cheese and ham or sausage, and it’s ready to bake. YUM!

Would love to try this variety.

I love growing garlic. It is easy and very satisfying. I haven’t planted mine yet. Gotta get going!

Gotta keep those Italian vampires away. Thanks

I didn’t say my favorite use of garlic. I use it in almost everything I cook, except desserts! ;-}

Scape pesto! 40-clove & lemon roasted chicken!

I love using fresh garlic on homemade pizza with garden tomatoes and basil! Just mash the clove in some olive oil and brush on the dough before adding the toppings!

One of my favorite ways to eat garlic is roasted whole and then put on pizza. It’s the best pizza topping (besides cheese)!

My very favorite way to eat garlic to pull bulbs while they are still a bit immature and nice and mild and juicy…and add it raw to salads, vegetables and pastas…

I would like to try this variety!

Homemade garlic powder in just about everything!

Fresh garlic is so hot and spicy it’s nice to saute or make into basil pesto. A lot goes into salsa and sauce for the winter stores. A bulb a day for adding to whatever’s cooking for dinner. As spring approaches the flavor mellows and adding whole cloves to dishes is a treat. Home pickled garlic and veggies in a bloody mary. Roasting the last of the previous year’s garlic as we harvest this years is a treat like candy for some.

My new favorite way to use garlic is to put roasted garlic in my guacamole.

Two nights ago I cooked red Thai rice the way I always cooked white rice, Brazilian style: washed and drained, sauteed with minced garlic and cracked cumin (rolled under the dough roller), then added boiling water and cooked in low heat. When done I mixed it with chopped tomatoes, chopped sauteed onions and also raw cukes, summer squash, and a drizzle of sesame oil. It was quite good.
Thanks for the contest!

At my feeble attempt to grow garlic this year, I bought some organic from the natural food store here in Santa Cruz and it did all right but nothing to write home about. Thank you for the tips. I love baked garlic and look forward to future success with my garlic growing!

kale chips made with garlic – yum!

I like garlic all ways! Thanks for the opportunity!

I love adding garlic to my vegetable frittatas; but then I think garlic makes any savory dish yummier.

I love to put garlic on minestrone soup!!! Garlic also keeps me from the vampires(most likely going to come out on halloween)

I love roasting garlic, or frying it in coconut oil before toasting a cooked grain in the oil.

I use garlic in almost anything I cook! I love chopping it and sauteing it before adding it to anything italian.

Gee, I’m not sure I have a favorite way. I use it in most of my cooking because I like the taste and it’s good for you. I use it in my fresh pack Kosher Dills, soups, Italian meatballs and spagetti. I use it in many venison recipes as I like the flavor better than onions. I take very large venison roasts, place it 6 qt crockpot, add h2o to almost cover, chopped fresh garlic and crush black peppercorns over the top. Then splash in some organic tamari sauce and some worcestershire sauce. Let cook on low 12 hrs+ til very tender. Yummy! Ü

Love, love, love your garlic tips and recipes! Yes, I need more garlic in my garden. TY!

It is very hard to say my favorite way to use garlic in cooking as I think I use it in almost everything! I love adding the cloves to my canning – pickles, marinated peppers, relishes, etc. I am even thinking of pickling just jars of garlic cloves so I definitely need to grow more garlic!

Am excited to start growing garlic this coming year.

We love garlic here! One way we use it is pickled (with an assortment of veggies.) Now there’s a recipe for bad breath, lol.

Fresh garlic on shrimp scampi can not be beat! YUM!!!

I swear, I put garlic in everything! When I start dinner it’s always with chopped onion and minced garlic; everything else is secondary. I have to say my favorite way to use it is roasted and spread on toast.

I love to slow roast the garlic. It’s so sweet and yummy on almost anything. I’d love to win this. I’ve never grown garlic before, but my father has. I’d love to add growing garlic organically to my repertoire.

We use garlic in just about everything we cook, but one of our favorites would have to be a nice pesto sauce.

I would love to grow this one!

Slow-baked tomatoes (Roma type) drizzled with olive oil, a little salt, and minced garlic–yummy!

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