Planting Garlic in the Spring

Spring is coming! Get ready to plant your spring garlic!

Spring planted garlic – Keene Garlic

We are pleased that we have spring planting garlic offerings this spring. If you were not able to get your garlic planted in the fall, or you want garlic with longer winter storage into next spring, or maybe you want to plant garlic for green spring garlic that can be harvested all summer for a nice crisp mild garlic flavor, we have spring garlic available. We had our bulbs grown on the west coast with a later harvest and then we cold stratified the bulbs, to bring you a successful garlic harvest.

Spring Planting Instructions

  1. Plant as soon as the garlic can be planted into the soil. You can plant into frozen ground and top with compost if necessary.
  2. Get cold vernalized bulbs or bulbs held in cold storage for about 40 degrees for 40 days. The Spring Bulbs we are selling have been kept in cold storage.
  3. Use the garlic fertilization soak to jump start root growth. Instructions provided.
  4. Broadcast our organic garlic granulated fertilizer into the soil before planting.
  5. Separate garlic cloves from the bulbs.
  6. Plant 2” deep flat, root side facing down and the pointed end facing up 6” apart and cover with at least 1” of soil over the tip of the garlic.  If space is limited, plant 4” apart. If you are growing spring green garlic that will be harvesting as green onions, you can plant 2” apart.
  7. Broadcast our garlic fertilizer over the top of the garlic and apply some light water or compost tea for moisture.
  8. Optional – We apply mulch like straw, grass clippings, grass clipping and chopped leaves or other good types of mulch that may be easy to obtain by region. 
  9. Mulch will protect the garlic from the temperature swings, retain moisture, and reduce weed pressure. 
  10. Once the garlic sprouts, you can apply fertilizer every 2 weeks based on the application rate.
  11. Keep garlic weeded as garlic does not compete well with weeds.
  12. Usually, spring time rains supply enough moisture, but the goal is about 1” of water a week making sure your soil is damp, but not saturated.
  13. If you have hard neck garlic, pick the scape as it starts to curl.
  14. Harvest when you have 5 green leaves remaining from the top.
  15. See our website for more details on growing garlic www.keeneorganics.com

Garlic fertilization soak

For a more successful garlic crop, we recommend organically treating your garlic seed.  A fertilization soak will start root development faster, provide nutrients into the clove, and create a healthier plant that grows into larger bulbs.   The sterilizer soak  step will also reduce pathogens garlic naturally carries. Thousands of garlic growers have faithfully used this method for generations for a better garlic crop, but it is completely OPTIONAL.

Garlic Fertilization Steps

1.  Crack garlic bulbs into individual cloves.

2. Sterilize cloves: Soak garlic cloves for 10-20 minutes in a sterilizer like Vodka, Isopropyl Alcohol 70%, Hydrogen Peroxide, or an other sterilizer.  This helps reduce the normally occurring good and bad microorganisms that are naturally carried with the garlic. You can reuse the sterilizer for the next batch of garlic if needed until the sterilizer looks too diluted. Then, DRAIN!

3. Take drained sterilized cloves, and soak in a fertilizer bath. Place cloves in a container with fertilizer and baking soda. Follow the instructions for application rates on the fertilizer label, but if you are using a liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion, kelp, or CX1 use 1 Tablespoon of fertilizer and 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda per gallon of water.  If you are using our granulated organic garlic fertilizer, use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water and let dissolve. Soak the garlic cloves at least 2 hours to overnight.  Drain and Plant!

Planted garlic clove 5 days after garlic fertilization soak
Spring planted garlic 2 weeks after planting! It is catching up with our garlic field.

Customers Questions:

Planting tips for spring garlic

Benjamin P., Tennessee, Zone 7

It is my understanding that the bulb weight of spring planted Inchelium Red will be reduced compared to fall planting. Is this solvable with fertilizer? Will bulbs that are harvested from a spring planting then replanted as cloves in the fall be stunted compared to a full sized fall planted clove? Can the effects of any growth stunting be mitigated by organic fertilizer? We are in East Tennessee in USDA zone 7 with clay soil, if that changes anything.

Keene Garlic Answer:

Yes, spring planted bulbs don’t always size up the fall planted garlic bulbs.  It may not make a difference for southern states, but northern states most likely won’t get the jumbo bulb size.  I have gotten medium and large size bulbs consistently, but most importantly mother nature needs to provide good spring weather that the garlic takes well.  I have only had 1 bad year where our spring temperatures sat at 55-60 degrees for 6 weeks from April to May, and my garlic didn’t not grow at all.  I’ve had good success with every other year.  Yes, you still will need to fertilize well, and plant into nutrient rich soil.  With heavy clay, try to loosen up the soil with some compost.  Foliar feed is also a benefit.  You will also have to keep the garlic weeded.  You will harvest a bit later than the fall planted garlic.  These bulbs seem to grow to a medium-large size that are best for storing into spring from you late summer harvest especially with the Yes, spring planted bulbs don’t always size up the fall planted garlic bulbs.  It may not make a difference for southern states, but northern states most likely won’t get the jumbo bulb size.  I have gotten medium and large size bulbs consistently, but most importantly mother nature needs to provide good spring weather that the garlic takes well.  I have only had 1 bad year where our spring temperatures sat at 55-60 degrees for 6 weeks from April to May, and my garlic didn’t not grow at all.  I’ve had good success with every other year.  Yes, you still will need to fertilize well, and plant into nutrient rich soil.  With heavy clay, try to loosen up the soil with some compost.  Foliar feed is also a benefit.  You will also have to keep the garlic weeded.  You will harvest a bit later than the fall planted garlic.  These bulbs seem to grow to a medium-large size that are best for storing into spring from a late summer harvest especially with the soft neck garlic.  If you don’t get the bulb size you want to replant, harvest a bit later even if the bulb wrapper breaks open to allow for more growth of clove size.  These bulbs will not store long as dirt has penetrated into bulb.  Now, you can take the largest cloves from the harvested bulbs and plant those in the fall 4-7 weeks after harvesting.  The fall planting should grow into great garlic for a harvest the next summer. If all things above are considered, the spring planted garlic bulbs should not be stunted (mother natured permitting), and should grow given all the love and care as written above.

See how Martha Stewart does the garlic fertilization soak with over 30 of our different garlic varieties.
Keep weeding and fertilizing. Keene is using CX-1 and Supercharger and pouring over the garlic every 10-14 days.
Spring Garlic 1 month after planting! I want large bulbs, and I can see the garlic fertilizer is working!
  • Planting Garlic in the Spring
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    Garlic Complete Organic Fertilization Package – Vegetable Supercharger, All Purpose & CX1
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Teddy keeps the groundhog away! Those squash plants are taking over my garlic!
I have to check to see bulb development. Too small to harvest!

2 Comments

  1. Manne on April 6, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    Magnificent website. Plenty of helpful info here. I am sending it to some buddies.

  2. ladyrain on April 14, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Howdy very nice web site!! Beautiful .. Amazing ..

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