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How Far Apart Should You Plant Your Garlic Bulbs?

Proper spacing is essential in a vegetable garden to promote healthy plant growth and high yields. Plant and row spacing are depends by the type of garlic grown as well as the planting technique. Continue reading to find out how far apart to plant garlic.

With the planting season well underway, you may be wondering how far apart to space different plants. For some plants, the spacing might not matter as much. For example, tomato plants tend to thrive even when planted in close proximity to each other.

When it comes to certain plants though, such as garlic, spacing may be trickier to tackle. If you don’t know how large your garlic plants will grow, you may wonder whether they might crowd each other in the growing process if you plant them too close together. If you plant them too far apart, though, you might lose out on volume when harvest time comes around. 

Caring for crops is both an art and a science. If you ask your grandfather who has been gardening for twice as many years as you’ve been alive, you may get vague answers like “put the garlic as far apart as you feel like it.” On the other hand, you may get a whole long spiel about all of his hard-earned knowledge surrounding growing garlic. 

If you want to weed through the unnecessary information and cut straight to the chase with this question and more, read on.

How far apart should you plant garlic bulbs?

As a general rule, you should plant garlic bulbs about six inches apart in rows and plant rows between 6”-12” apart. If you need a wider path for walking in between rows, feel free to build that into the garlic row planning.

This is simply a general guideline. If you plant rows closer together, you may crowd the garlic and get smaller bulbs than you would have liked. Additionally, you may struggle to weed between rows if you plant them too close together.

If you plant the bulbs closer together than six inches within rows, your bulbs may also be on the more modest side when it comes to size. Besides crowding the garlic, it may be a hassle to harvest garlic that has been planted too close together. If you only want to pull one or two from the ground, you may find yourself pulling more than one at a time if they’re planted too tightly in rows. 

Another issue that garlic might encounter if you space them too close together would be competition for solar rays. If plants are shielding each other from the sun, they may take longer to grow. This translates into a long wait to enjoy the fruits of your gardening efforts. What’s more, it means that your plants are outside for longer and therefore more susceptible to getting picked at by pests and rodents. 

If you’re planting garlic on a limited plot of soil, you may be able to get away with planting them as close together as four inches. However, if you have to plant garlic closer together to conserve space, you may be sacrificing size, quality, and harvest time. If you have limited space, you might be better off planting fewer garlic plants with the appropriate spacing.

Do you soak garlic before planting?

While it’s not necessary to soak garlic before planting, it can be beneficial. Taking an extra half hour to soak the garlic can have long-lasting benefits for your garlic crop.

If you soak your garlic, you’ll lower the risk of fungal infection in your garlic plants. Nothing is more devastating for an avid gardener than discovering that our prized, eagerly awaited crops have succumbed to fungus or other ailments.

The process of soaking garlic before planting is fairly simple. As outlined in an article by gardeningchannel.com, “Just before planting, soak the garlic cloves for 15 to 30 minutes in lukewarm water. Drain the water off the cloves, then cover them with rubbing alcohol and soak for three to five minutes.”

For a short process that requires only two solutions that you probably already have in your cabinets–water and rubbing alcohol–you might just save your heart (and your stomach) the future ache of losing your fresh, homegrown garlic for the year.

What should I plant after garlic?

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Once you’ve harvested your perfectly spaced garlic, you might wonder what to put in the ground to replace it. After all, the only thing better than relishing fresh vegetables from your own garden is the sweet knowledge that you have more fresh produce in the works.

As plantophiles.com shares, “Since garlic prefers a cold growth season, summer crops, such as carrots and spinach, will grow after it. You can also plant aubergines and peppers after it. Carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes can also be planted after garlic as it acts as a natural pest-repellant to these crops.” 

We all hear about how garlic can, according to some legends, ward off vampires. Who knew it could also banish more mundane earthly beasts such as pests from the garden?

Can you plant onions and garlic in the same bed?

If you enjoy cooking with onions and garlic, you may want to plant them in the same bed. Although some plants do not do well with each other, garlic and onions generally tend to get along as well as two peas in a pod–or two closely related plants in a plant bed.

As bhg.com points out, “Planting onions and garlic together won’t have a drastic impact on either crop, but it will have a big impact on those around them as like garlic, onions, chives and other members of the allium family repel many mites and grubs. 

Although garlic has many friends, it also has a few enemies. Garlic actually inhibits the growth of peas and beans so keep them at a safe distance.

Homegrown garlic takes between seven to eight months to grow. Once you’ve harvested the crop you should look at planting something different in the nutrient-rich soil that it has left behind.”

Having a plan for your garden will help you avoid planting crops that despise each other–or at least keep each other from reaching their full growth potential. Novice gardeners might be tempted to simply throw a bunch of different seeds in the ground and hope for the best. As bhg.com discusses, though, this can have detrimental effects on your harvest.

How long does garlic take to grow?

According to some sources, garlic can grow as fast as seven months or it can take about 9 months. This depends on several different factors, including the environment, the garlic bulbs themselves, and the amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer they receive.

Of course, if you are expecting larger garlic bulbs, they may take longer to grow. If you pull them early when they are still in a tender phase of growing, they might be ready sooner. It all depends on your preferences and the climate where you are trying to grow your garlic.

When should I plant garlic?

Depending on where you live, October might be the most common month of the year for getting garlic cloves into the ground. If you live in the northern part of the United States, the tail end of September to the middle of October tends to fare better for planting garlic than other times of the year.

If you live in the Southern United States or a similar climate, you may be able to get away with waiting until the end of November to plant your garlic bulbs. The key to planting garlic on time is getting them in the ground at least half a month prior to the season’s first frost.

For practical reasons and best practices for planting, aim to plant your garlic before the earth freezes between fall and winter. Once the ground has frozen, you will have a hard time getting anything planted, let alone expecting it to thrive. 

How many cloves of garlic can I plant in a square foot garden?

Whether you’re limited to a single square foot of gardening space or you plant crops in square foot cells for easy care, you can plant six cloves of garlic in a square foot. This is assuming that you would space each clove with six inches between clothes and rows. 

If you put your garlic closer together, you may be able to squeeze in seven or eight cloves. This would not be ideal, though–it would be a tight fit and might inhibit their growth.

Do I water garlic after planting?

While it’s important to keep a garlic patch moist until the roots are established, garlic doesn’t require an excessive amount of water. Watering garlic once a week unless it rains should be sufficient to maintain the crops.

You don’t want to water garlic too much. If you over-water garlic, the plants may rot in the ground and become useless for eating. After all your hard work, it would be a shame to lose your garlic plants because of such a simple error. Because of this, it’s important to err on the side of caution with watering garlic plants. 

Unless the ground looks dry or it has been a while since it last rained, you probably don’t need to water garlic too often. This makes it a great plant for gardeners who are pressed for time but still want to enjoy fresh vegetables.