How to Plant Garlic | Overwinter Garlic for Bigger Cloves

Plating garlic is a first for me. It’s something we use in our kitchen daily and since I’m trying to become more self sufficient, adding this to the homestead seemed like a no brainer. Not only is it delicious and elevates basically every food it’s added to, it has serious health benefits that I can’t ignore.

Garlic is one of the cooler foods in the garden that will survive the winter and “kick on” when spring rolls around. The trick to overwintering garlic is to plant it in the right window of time… about two to three weeks before your first frost. This will give the garlic enough time to establish small roots in the ground then go dormant until spring.

Since I’m diving head first into this, I thought why not try two kinds of garlic: hardneck music and elephant. I’ve never had elephant garlic, but they’re huge and they looked like fun so I’m giving it a shot!

elephant garlic

Take a look at how massive those cloves are! I can barely hold them all in my hand at one time.

Planting garlic is simple, break apart the cluster while keeping the paper around the individual cloves. Then plant them root side down about 3-4 inches apart.

planting garlic

I lined them all up in my beds first to see how many I could fit. then I pushed them down into the soil about 3 inches. After I covered up the holes with soil, I covered the entire bed with about 3 inches of leaves. After the leaves compressed naturally, I added another layer of leaves on top.

I planted my garlic on October 22. We had a few very warm and sunny days around Thanksgiving, so I pulled some of the leaves back on December 17th to check their progress. I immediately saw this little fella peeking through the soil!

Here’s what the same garlic looks like in mid-May! Tall and healthy!

garlic in May

The scapes are just now starting to appear. I’m going to remove most to focus on getting bigger bulbs, but I’ll let a few develop as an experiment.

I got this garlic from a grower, but you can plant garlic that you’ve purchased from a grocery store!

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