How to grow garlic

Do it:

Nov, Dec, Jan

Takes just:

one hour

At its best:

Jul, Aug, Sep

Plant garlic cloves in midwinter to ensure your best harvest the following summer. It's always best to buy bulbs from seed merchants that are certified virus-free and bred for growing in local conditions. You can also use shop-bought garlic, but you may find it less successful. In mild regions, the cloves can be planted out in prepared ground and covered with cloches or fleece. Or simply plant into seed trays and set out the young plants in March.

Watch Monty Don plant garlic bulbs in our practical video.

You will need

  • Garlic bulbs
  • Modular seed trays
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Trowel for planting out


Break garlic bulbs into individual cloves ready for planting. Take care not to damage the cloves as this can lead to rotting.

In mild regions, plant the cloves in well-prepared soil spacing them 10cm apart. Simply push the cloves into the soil so that the tip of each one is just below the surface. Cover them with cloches in frosty weather.

In cold areas and to speed up the growth-rate of the crop, plant the cloves in divided seed trays of multi-purpose compost. Water well and place trays in a cool greenhouse or cold frame to grow on. They will be ready to plant out in March or April.


Keep garlic well watered during dry weather. If it's dry for long periods, the cloves will not swell and the resulting crop will have a short storage life.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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