Garlic cultivation in the garden

The cultivation of garlic has always been a bit rustic. Given the great growth capacity of garlic, sometimes it is neglected and we forget certain procedures. However, you have to control your physiology and your fertilizer (demanding, by the way), so you must know in depth how to grow garlic. We are going to show you the most important things regarding its cultivation, counting on the soil, the fertilizer, the irrigation, etc.




Garlic belongs to the lily family and it is believed that its origin is Asian and from there it was brought to the Mediterranean. In Spain it is a highly known species and a multitude of dishes are made from their heads. Whether it is making ali oli, frying garlic or dressing oil, garlic is part of the gastronomy in many countries. What better way than to see it now in our garden or orchard.


Garlic adapts well to weather conditions as it is a rustic plant. In Mediterranean climates its growth is optimal, as in temperate climates. In tropical or subtropical climates it presents greater difficulty.

With numerical data, garlic resists temperatures down to -10º C, in vegetative state, due to its condition as a rustic plant. If it is in a vegetative growth phase, it supports a little less, temperatures down to -5ºC.

Despite these very low temperatures, garlic does not feel like late frosts.


No extensive preparation of the terrain is required. Garlic has roots that can reach 30 cm deep. In the event that your land has poor drainage or is susceptible to waterlogging, it would be convenient for you to carry out a deep work on the land. If it is a dry land, a deep work above 30 cm is also recommended to facilitate water retention. Do not manure the land prior to planting! I’ll explain it to you below.


Before we have talked about the rusticity of garlic. Well, in subscriber issues it is the opposite. In the cultivation of garlic , an intense and demanding mineral type fertilizer is required.

However, manure prior to planting is not recommended, since it requires advanced mineralization fertilizers, so the use of manure from the previous plantation does suit the crop very well. If you consider it necessary to add fertilizer due to the impoverishment of your soil, you can add a background fertilizer at least 3 months before planting. (If not, the garlic cloves take on a bad taste.)

You should avoid using the residues from your previous garlic plantation as fertilizer for the next one, because it is a material that can be contaminated and can spread soil diseases, which are the most difficult to eradicate.

Many authors recommend the application of sulfur or sulfated compounds (sulfates with macronutrients) , either as a bottom or top fertilizer , due to the content of garlic in allyl sulfide polymerizates, which is related to the taste and healing qualities of garlic. Therefore, whenever garlic requires the incorporation of some compound (potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.) it must be incorporated in the form of sulfate (for example: potassium sulfate).

In addition, garlic is demanding in micronutrients , such as boron, zinc or molybdenum, and we must pay attention to the appearance of these deficiencies, since they are related to the conservation of garlic. In Spain it does not usually appear frequently, due to the mineral conditions of the soil, but garlic also needs periodic contributions of calcium and magnesium.

Yes, okay, but how much fertilizer do I add when growing garlic ? Well, look, as a background subscriber the following:

For a production of 8,000 kg per hectare:

  • Ammonium sulfate (21%): 600 kg / ha
  • Cal superphosphate (18%): 500 kg / ha
  • Potassium sulfate (50%): 600 kg / ha
A mulch fertilizer (during garlic planting):
  • Ammonium nitrate (2 applications): 150 kg / ha each application.

All this for nitrogen fertilizers. If your philosophy is to incorporate and use all the compost or manure that you have generated naturally, the ideal is that it is well decomposed (a few months have passed since its preparation) and you distribute it evenly throughout the garden well mixed with the earth. Something like a deep terrace.


Like everything in life, there are different plantation settings. We are going to comment on the most common ones.

The most widespread in the cultivation of garlic and used is the 0.5m x 0.15m. That is, 50 cm between lines and 15 cm between plants. Making calculations, with this frame in one hectare 133,333 plants are grown. Sometimes the distance between lines is increased, to 60-80 cm, but what should not be done is to reduce the distance between plants (0.15 cm) since garlic is demanding in terms of light, and reducing that distance can compromise the reception of light in all parts of the plant.


I think that here I should work on it and not just say “that the surface is wet.”

The calculation is made using ETo and varies with respect to the geographical position and the data from the meteorological stations. Several authors have carried out the calculation for the cultivation of garlic in the south of France, establishing a result of 2,600 cubic meters per hectare. This value is undoubtedly low for some conditions in Spain, for example in the south.

As much to my regret I cannot add the irrigation dose for each city. I’m going to put some communities from Spain:

  • Almería: (October-April): 77 L / square meter and month. 6.5 liters / month and plant
  • Community of Madrid (January-July): 110 L / square meter and month. 9 L / month and plant
  • Region of Murcia: (April-July): 144 L / square meter and month. 12 L / month and plant
  • Castilla la Mancha: (January-July): 121 L / square meter and month. 10.10 L / month and plant
  • Extremadura (October-April): 71.74 L / square meter and month. 6 L / month and plant
  • Castilla y León (April-July): 144 L / square meter and month. 12 L / month and plant

Planting frame chosen: 12 plants per square meter.

These values ​​vary greatly with respect to the area where it is grown (colder or higher temperature, month of planting, etc). So I can only suggest that through the map you can obtain specific data by adding the exact geographical area. (What to say that Castilla y León is very large and it will not give the same result in Abanilla as in Mazarrón (Region of Murcia).

The important thing is that the values ​​for April-July date are between 8 and 10 L / plant and month and for October-April crops between 6 and 6.5 L / month.


This is an important part of ensuring success or failure in your adventure growing this magnificent lily. The best idea to obtain new plants is using the segments of the previous productions. You can also do it by seeds but it is less comfortable, yes.

The procedure is the next. The best teeth are chosen (those larger and that are not pitted) and when the soil is ready to receive them (with its decomposed bottom fertilizer, with the soil loose and free of weeds), the teeth are inserted as follows. following:

You can see how the tip faces upwards and the hairs will form the base of the future plant. 

You will be surprised how little care you will have to carry out once you sow the garlic. These tasks will be related to irrigation, cleaning the weed garden and some controls against pests and diseases.

Ah! An advice. Look at the association between crops to know when to combine your plants. It is a very effective technique that will save you from many problems.


There are many varieties of garlic, but there are 3 varieties that are the most widespread:

  • Pink garlic: presents small bulbs and of higher quality than white garlic
  • White garlic: large bulbs and more squashed than pink garlic. It is larger than purple, sensitive to frost (as we have mentioned), late and very productive.
  • Purple garlic: it is rustic. Earlier than white garlic and less well preserved.

Fermented black garlic eaten in Asia


On this page you will find the extended calendar for all crops. In that table I noted that the date was from October to January  for planting and June July for harvesting . It all depends on the type of variety (early, extra-early, late, etc.).

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