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Grow with KARE: Growing garlic in your home garden

Garlic is well-suited to Minnesota's climate, and fall is the time to think about planting it.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — One of the fastest growing trends in gardening is garlic. And fall is the time to plant it and grow your own! 

Jerry Ford with Living Song Farm is The Garlic Guy and is sharing his tips with us.

He says garlic is a northern plant that was imported down to the Mediterranean, so it can definitely grow well here in Minnesota. But Jerry says there are three things to remember: The right stuff, the right place and the right time.

"The right stuff is local," Ford says. That's because locally grown garlic has already acclimated to our growing conditions. Look for porcelain or purple stripe garlic. They do the best but most hardneck garlics will do well here.

"The right place is a well-drained area with lots of organic matter in the soil and plenty of sunlight," Ford said. "And then the right time, and this is what people oftentimes get wrong, we plant mid-October. That’s the sweet spot ... But you can plant right up until the ground freezes."

Jerry’s tips for planting:

  • Prepare the ground for rich soil. Use lots of organic matter from well-rotted manure is best.
  • Plant about an inch deep with the rooted end down and the pointy end upward.
  • Cover with 3” to 4” of mulch. Straw is best but leaves will also work. Do not use wood chips. Leave the mulch on in the spring. Do not remove it.
  • Watch for the curly scapes (flowers) to form in spring. Cut those off and eat them! This helps the plants energy go into developing big bulbs.
  • Harvest in the middle of July when the bottom few leaves turn brown or yellow.

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