Nervous first time garlic planter

Asked October 7, 2019, 2:03 PM EDT

This past spring/summer was my first as a gardener. I fell in love instantly and plan to expand my garden this following year. In an effort to continue my growing as much as possible, I’m planting garlic for next summer. My question/worry....I believe I jumped the gun in planting. My eagerness led me to plant in mid September. Granted it’s only been 3 weeks, but I impatiently leaked and have to admit there’s been ZERO root growth or any change at all. Could be perfectly normal but my limited understanding tells me garlic will begging rooting upon planting until the ground freezes. Did I plant too early and doom my crop? Or Will cooler weather bring on the rooting?

Kent County Delaware

1 Response

Hello, and welcome to gardening! How exciting!

Garlic comes in many varieties. It is recommended that the garlic to be planted be obtained from a reputable gardening source and not the grocery store to avoid potential disease. Garlic bulbs are best planted in the Fall between October 1st and November 1st but will take up to 9 months to mature.

Once separated from the base of the main bulb, individual garlic bulbs should be planted 1 – 2 inches deep, in full to partly sunny areas. Rows of garlic bulbs should be approximately 4 to 6 inches apart. The addition of organic matter in the soil and a thin layer of mulch on top is helpful.

These plants require good drainage, and the watering requirements for garlic are approximately one inch of water per week until harvest time. Watering should stop about one month before harvesting when leaves begin to yellow.

Fertilizing is advised in the spring with new growth. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer should be applied every two weeks until bulbing begins.

Weeding should be done by hand as garlic has a shallow root system which should be undisturbed.

Here are some resources, from U Maryland and Penn State Cooperative Extensions, regarding growing garlic where some of the above information can be found and more - and

It took me 3 years to finally get a good garlic crop so don't give up. As with all planting, there are many factors that come into play. Good Luck!