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How to Grow Garlic in a Raised Bed (Step-by-Step Instructions)

Garlic is a super magical plant in which you can grow easily in your raised bed. The best thing about the garlic plant is that it can grow easily in a limited space. Garlic grows better and more reliably in raised beds compared to the open ground. Here's the steps on how to grow garlic in a raised bed.

Ways in growing garlic in raised bed.

Growing a bountiful harvest of fresh garlic needs very little work or space in the garden. When planted straight in the soil, garlic cloves immediately sprout and develop into full-grown plants. Even though the plants are more often cultivated as annuals, they are, in fact, perennials in the United States.

Garlic is seldom affected by pests and disease, however, rot may develop in areas that are always moist or have inadequate drainage. Therefore, it is important to grow garlic in raised beds to ensure that it receives enough drainage and to avoid the aforementioned issues. This guide gives you step-by-step instructions on how you can grow garlic in raised beds.

Steps in Growing Garlic in a Raised Bed

1. Determine the Right Time to Plant Garlic

Planting time for garlic.

Considering the weather patterns in your area, you may grow garlic in either the autumn or the spring. Garlic should be planted in the autumn, before the first frost, in northern climates. Although seed garlic has to be cooled before planting to rouse it from its dormant condition, the optimum time to grow garlic is in the early spring in warmer climes.

If you are planting in the autumn, you should get started immediately when the soil temperature falls to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant roots won’t have enough time to spread out and become strong enough to prevent the soil from freezing, causing the plants to lift upward if you start too late.

Applying a layer of straw mulch between three and four inches thick on top of the plants may help to prevent heaving.

2. Select a Planting Site

Find a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and has conditions that are wet, well-drained, sandy, as well as loose. The papery covering that surrounds the garlic bulbs and prevents them from decaying should not be damaged, and the bulbs should be planted in soil that is sufficiently loose to allow for easy growth.

Ensure that the location you choose for planting garlic has not been used for the cultivation of onions or any other alliums during the prior season, and preferably, for at least 3 months before the planting of garlic there. Garlic shouldn’t have to compete for resources with other aromatic plants that are still attempting to thrive.

3. Amend the Soil

Amending soil for garlic.

Because the plant thrives well in naturally rich soil, the surface of the raised bed should be covered with half a pound to one pound of 5-10 fertilizer as well as two inches of manure. A shovel or hoe may be used to incorporate the organic matter into the top six inches of soil. Once you have tilted the soil, it is important to refrain from stepping on the raised bed so that the soil does not get compressed and lose its drainage qualities.

4. Prepare the Garlic Bulbs

Preparing garlic for planting.

Separate each clove from the garlic bulb by breaking it apart. When planting bulbs, it is best to use the larger exterior cloves of each bulb. Each clove should be planted one to two inches deep in the soil with the pointy end pointing upward. 

The cloves should then be spaced three inches apart in rows that are 10 inches apart. With raised beds, you will not need to have a row spacing for the garlic because there’s no need to walk in between the plant rows to get to the plants.

5. Add a Layer of Mulch

Since you are growing the garlic in a raised bed, the bed’s surface needs to be covered with a layer of straw mulch that is approximately four inches thick. The mulch stops weeds from growing and helps the soil to retain moisture. Additionally, it acts as an insulator for the soil. 

6. Maintain a Reliable and Consistent Irrigation Routine

Make sure to water the plants consistently. If there was less than one inch of precipitation the previous week, you should water the garlic once every week. To adequately hydrate the top six inches of soil in the raised bed, provide a depth of about one inch of water.

It’s important to keep watering your plants throughout the winter, especially during periods of dry weather and when temperatures are above freezing.

7. Add More Fertilizer

Fertilizing garlic in raised bed.

When you see that the garlic foliage has reached a height of about 6 to 8 inches around the spring, make sure to move the mulch and add some fertilizer alongside each row. You should keep a distance of about 6 inches from the plant’s base. After applying the fertilizer, water the area well and then refill the mulch.

8. Dig Up the Bulbs

Woman digging soil in raised bed for planting garlic.

When the leaves of the plant start turning yellowish around early to middle summer, you should stop watering the plant. When you see that half of the leaves on every plant have turned brown and have started falling over, it’s time to dig out the bulbs.

What if it is Too Late to Plant Garlic?

When it comes to planting, it may sometimes be better to wait a little longer than necessary rather than start too early. That’s because planting garlic very early in the autumn might lead to the plant not growing well and its bulbs not developing properly.

If you plant the garlic too soon, it won’t start growing roots until the temperature drops significantly. In the meantime, they are doing nothing more than sitting in the soil, and they’re not growing and are thus getting increasingly vulnerable to rotting, diseases, or subterranean pests.

Furthermore, vernalization may be stopped and fewer bulbs produced if the plant is subjected to very high temperatures in the autumn. Planting should take place after the first fatal frost in northern regions, but the soil can still be worked. This is a good guideline to follow.

You may plant your garlic even if the ground hasn’t frozen yet as long as you cover it with a thick layer of mulch and there is still a significant amount of time left before the temperature rises beyond freezing. Because the soil on raised beds freezes much later than soil that is directly on the ground, it is advantageous to create such a garden.

Factors to Consider When Growing Garlic

Even if your garlic is grown on raised beds, you won’t be able to harvest rich garlic unless you give it the attention and care it needs. Your garlic will grow healthily if you take the necessary steps to ensure that it receives enough light, water, nutrients, and temperature in its raised beds. Here are the factors to take into account when growing garlic in raised beds. 

Choose the Right Plant

Hardneck type of garlic.

Before you get started planting, the very first thing you need to think about is what kind of garlic is going to do the best in your region. Two distinct varieties of garlic exist, and they’re known as soft-neck and hardneck.

In most cases, southern climes, often known as warm zones, have more success growing softneck garlic. The taste of softneck garlic is mild, and a lot of people are acquainted with it since it is the kind of garlic that is sold in supermarkets and other grocery shops.

Garlic with a softneck bulb is the simplest kind to cultivate, and it stores well for an average of ten to twelve months. The softneck kind of garlic is the one to choose if you plan on making garlic braids.

Garlic with a hardneck bulb is most suited for growing in colder conditions, such as those found in the north. Hardnecks often have a taste that is more intricate, edgier, and, in some people’s opinions, superior to that of softnecks. 

Amount of Garlic Needed

The quantity of garlic that should be planted is contingent upon the yield that is desired from the crop. In general, one pound of garlic seed may be used to grow a row that is somewhere between 15 and 30 feet long. This will vary depending on the kind of garlic that was used as well as the quantity of space that was left between each clove. The majority of hardneck varieties contain between fifty and ninety cloves per pound.

Light

Garlic thrives in bright light, which may come as a surprise for a plant that develops its roots mostly underground. If you want to give your garlic the greatest possible chance of flourishing, you should plant it in a location that is exposed to direct sunshine for at least six to eight hours each day.

Soil

Fertile soil for planting garlic.

Start with nutritionally rich soil if you want to effectively produce garlic since this is among the most crucial components in the cultivation process. In addition to this, it should have a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0 and be wet but also have good drainage.

After the bulbs have been planted, it is beneficial to apply mulching on the soil surface. This helps to protect the bulbs, retain moisture, as well as prevent the development of weeds.

Water

Garlic, which is known for its laid-back disposition, does not need an excessive amount of water. It likes to have its soil kept wet and should be given around one inch of water each week, with a minor increase recommended if the temperature is very high.

It’s important to keep the soil at a consistent moisture level during the beginning of the season; however, you should let the soil dry out for about 2 to 3 weeks before harvest. Mold may develop if the circumstances are too wet towards the harvest period.

Temperature and Humidity

Garlic is a highly tough plant, and its optimal growth period is during the cooler winter season when temperatures are lower. In light of this, you must sow your garlic approximately one month before the arrival of the first severe frost in the autumn. Furthermore, garlic does not have any specific needs when it comes to humidity; in fact, it is typically harvested before the hottest and most humid part of the summer.

Fertilizer

Jobe's 06328 Bone Meal Fertilizer Spikes, 50, Natural

When producing garlic, the use of fertilizer may be of great assistance. When planting garlic in the autumn, it is best to incorporate slow-release fertilizers into your soil first. Then, as the leaves start to develop in the spring, give the soil that is all around your seedlings a dose of a fertilizer mixture that is heavy in nitrogen.

Harvesting Garlic

When the bulk of the bottom foliage on your garlic plant has gone brown, which often occurs in the middle to late summer, you will know that your garlic plant is ready for harvesting. Dig up one or two test bulbs to verify whether or not the garlic is mature; it should be tightly wrapped but not cracked.

When you are ready to harvest, use a garden fork to make a vertical incision approximately 6 to 8 inches away from the base of the plant. Position the fork at an inclination so that it may go underneath the bulb and then raise it up and away from the soil. If you try to remove the bulb by pulling on its leaves, you will likely end up snapping the bulb off. Garlic is prone to damage, so use care while handling it.

Remove any traces of dirt that may still be adhering to the bulbs. It is recommended that the bulbs be allowed to cure or dry for at least 4 weeks in a room with adequate ventilation or in a dry, shaded place outdoors.

After the tops and roots have become completely dry, you may cut them off. Taking off the outer shells of the bulbs is another method to further clean them. Just make sure that none of the cloves are exposed at any point. Garlic that has been harvested should be kept in a cold environment, with temperatures as low as 32° F.

There is a possibility that the softneck varieties might live for up to 8 months. Hardneck types on the other hand may get shriveled, sprout, or grow mushy within 2 to 4 months. Hardnecks may occasionally be preserved for up to 7 months without showing signs of deterioration if they are also kept at a temperature of 32 ° f.