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How to Plant Garlic in September – A 9 Step Guide

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September is upon us, and you know what that means—it’s time to get your hands dirty and start planting garlic. Garlic is not only a fantastic culinary ingredient but also a joy to grow in your garden.

Plus, there’s something incredibly satisfying about pulling your own homegrown garlic out of the ground. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll walk you through the garlic planting process, sharing tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, grab our gardening gloves, and get ready to plant some garlic!

A Proper Guide to Plant Garlic in September

Welcome to the ultimate guide for garlic enthusiasts and garden lovers! September marks the perfect time to dive into the world of garlic planting.

In this concise and practical guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to successfully plant garlic in September and reap the delicious rewards next summer.

1. Choose the Right Garlic Varieties:

Before you dive into planting, it’s crucial to select the right garlic varieties for your garden. There are two main types: hardneck and softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic varieties tend to be more flavorful and are well-suited for cold climates.

Softneck garlic, on the other hand, has a longer shelf life and is better for milder climates. Some popular hardneck varieties include Music and German Extra Hardy, while softneck varieties like California Early and Inchelium Red are great choices.

When choosing your garlic, consider your local climate and your taste preferences. Different varieties offer unique flavors and adaptability to various growing conditions. Remember, garlic is like wine; there’s a variety for every palate!

2. Prepare Your Garden Bed:

Find a sunny spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Garlic loves well-drained soil, so make sure your chosen location has good drainage.

If your soil is heavy clay or lacks organic matter, consider amending it with compost to improve its texture and fertility.

To test your soil drainage, dig a hole about 12 inches deep and fill it with water. If the water drains within 24 hours, your soil is well-draining. If not, you may need to work on improving the drainage before planting.

3. Timing Is Everything:

September is the ideal time to plant garlic because it allows the cloves to establish roots before the ground freezes. Aim to plant your garlic about 4-6 weeks before your first expected frost date.

For most regions, this falls between mid-September and early October. Consult your local agricultural extension office or gardening center for specific dates in your area.

Timing is key here. Planting too early can lead to excessive growth, while planting too late may result in underdeveloped bulbs. Finding that sweet spot ensures your garlic will thrive.

4. Break the Bulbs into Cloves:

Garlic bulbs are composed of individual cloves. Carefully break apart the bulbs into separate cloves, ensuring you keep the papery skin on each clove intact.

Don’t worry if some cloves look smaller or damaged; they can still grow into healthy garlic plants.

Separating the cloves can be a bit like solving a puzzle, but it’s worth the effort. Each clove will give rise to a new garlic plant, so make sure you have enough cloves for the harvest you desire.

5. Planting Depth and Spacing:

Dig furrows in your garden bed, spacing them about 8-10 inches apart. Place the garlic cloves about 2 inches deep with the pointed end facing up. Space the cloves about 4-6 inches apart within the rows.

This spacing allows room for the garlic to grow without overcrowding.

The 2-inch planting depth is crucial. Planting too shallow can expose the cloves to harsh weather, while planting too deep may hinder their growth. The pointed end should always face up, as this is where the shoots will emerge.

6. Mulch for Protection:

Cover the planted garlic cloves with a layer of mulch. Straw or chopped leaves work well for this purpose. Mulching helps regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and suppress weeds, which are all essential for garlic growth.

Just be sure to avoid using fresh grass clippings as mulch, as they can heat up and damage the garlic.

Mulching serves as a cozy blanket for your garlic during the colder months. It also keeps weeds at bay, saving you from a weeding marathon later on.

7. Watering and Care:

Water your newly planted garlic thoroughly after mulching. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the fall. As winter approaches, reduce watering to prevent rot.

In regions with severe winters, consider applying a layer of additional mulch for added protection.

Think of your garlic as a thirsty vampire. It needs its water but doesn’t want to drown. Be vigilant about moisture levels, especially in the crucial early stages of growth.

8. Fertilize in Spring:

In early spring, when you see green shoots emerging from the soil, it’s time to fertilize your garlic. Use a balanced, organic fertilizer or compost to provide nutrients to your plants.

Follow the recommended application rates on the product label for best results.

Garlic, like us, appreciates a good meal now and then. A little organic boost in the spring ensures your garlic bulbs will grow plump and flavorful.

9. Harvesting and Curing:

The moment of truth arrives when your garlic leaves start turning brown and dying back in early summer. Carefully dig up the garlic bulbs, taking care not to damage them.

Allow the garlic to dry and cure by hanging it in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for a few weeks. Once cured, trim the roots and tops, and store your homegrown garlic in a cool, dark place for delicious culinary adventures ahead.

Harvesting garlic is like uncovering buried treasure. Be patient during the curing process; it’s like letting fine wine age to perfection before enjoying it in your favorite dishes.

Companion Planting with Garlic

Now that you’re well on your way to becoming a garlic-growing pro, let’s explore the fascinating world of companion planting.

You see, garlic isn’t just a flavorful addition to your garden; it’s also a natural pest repellent and a great companion for other plants.

So, while you’re tending to your garlic crop, consider these fantastic companion planting options that will not only protect your garden but also add some diversity to your green space.


Garlic and tomatoes are like the dynamic duo of the garden. Planting garlic near your tomato plants can work wonders to deter aphids, which have a pesky habit of making a buffet out of your precious tomatoes.

These two complement each other perfectly – tomatoes bring the sweetness, and garlic brings the zing!

To try this pairing, simply intersperse garlic cloves among your tomato plants, making sure there’s adequate space for both to grow without crowding each other.


Roses are often cherished in gardens for their beauty, but they can also be a magnet for aphids and black spot, a nasty fungal disease. Fear not, for garlic is here to save the day.

Planting garlic near your rose bushes can help keep these common rose pests at bay.

The process is straightforward: just place garlic cloves strategically around your rose bushes. The result? Gorgeous roses free from the scourge of aphids and black spot.


If you’re a fan of growing peppers, you’ll be pleased to know that garlic’s natural pest-repelling properties can benefit pepper plants too.

Aphids and spider mites can wreak havoc on pepper plants, stunting their growth and reducing your pepper harvest.

To protect your peppers, plant garlic cloves nearby. The garlic’s aroma and pest-repelling properties will help create a pest-free zone for your peppers to thrive in.

Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, etc.):

The brassica family includes popular veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and kale, but it also attracts some unwanted attention from pests like cabbage worms.

Enter garlic, the hero of the garden! Planting garlic alongside your brassicas can help ward off these pests.

For this partnership to work its magic, simply tuck garlic cloves around your brassica plants. You’ll not only have healthier crops but also fewer battles with pesky cabbage worms.

Fruit Trees:

Fruit trees are a delightful addition to any garden, but they can fall victim to boring insects like borers. However, you can enlist the help of garlic to protect your fruit trees.

Plant garlic at the base of your fruit trees, and let its natural pest-repelling properties discourage borers and other unwanted insects from infesting your beloved fruit-bearing giants.

Incorporating these garlic companions into your garden not only enhances your gardening experience but also promotes a healthier and more pest-resistant garden ecosystem.

So, as you embark on your garlic-growing journey this September, remember that garlic isn’t just about adding flavor to your meals; it’s about creating a thriving, harmonious garden where each plant supports the other in its unique way.

Congratulations, you’ve now embarked on your garlic-growing adventure! September is the perfect time to start planting garlic, and with these nine easy steps, you’ll soon be enjoying the sweet aroma and robust flavor of your homegrown bulbs.

Remember, gardening is a rewarding journey filled with both successes and learning experiences. So, get out there, have fun, and savor the flavors of your labor when you harvest your garlic next summer. Happy planting!

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