Garlic and shallots are allium family members and are commonly used as flavorful additions to many dishes. These root vegetables are easy to grow and require minimal care, making them a great choice for beginners and experienced gardeners.
In this article, we will explore the steps for planting shallots and garlic cloves so that you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these delicious and nutritious crops.
Garlic is a popular vegetable not only in the kitchen but also in the herb garden. Its spicy aroma refines the taste of many dishes. It also contains many healthy ingredients that positively affect our bodies when consumed regularly.
The leek plant is also very useful in the bed in mixed cultivation. It keeps the neighboring plants away from plant pests and positively influences their growth.
Garlic is very frugal when it comes to caring for it. Some varieties are hardy and can migrate into the ground in autumn. The advantage over spring planting: The plants have a head start in growth so that you can harvest the ripe tubers about four weeks earlier.
However, garlic is planted directly in the bed in April and harvested in summer. Garlic plants do not develop normal flowers but bulbous bulbs surrounded by a bract at the top of the long green stalk. You can take these off and plant them in the fall.
- Garlic (Allium sativum): It is the most common type worldwide.
- Chives (Allium tuberosum): Has edible leaves and flowers and has a mild taste.
- Giant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum ampeloprasum): Also called elephant garlic, and is particularly mild.
- Chinese Garlic (Allium sativum variety): It consists of a single bulb 25 mm to 50 mm in size.
Choosing the right location to plant garlic is very important; the spicy tuber grows easily and without much care in the garden when planted in the right soil and location. The allium plant needs loose soil in a warm, windy, sunny place. The garlic fly (Suillia uninitiated) causes little damage due to the draft. Garlic plants will not do well on wet, heavy, sandy, and humus-poor soil.
Here are the five planting steps;
- Prepare soil
- tighten the cord
- Lay out individual garlic cloves on the bed
Before planting your garlic, prepare the soil; you can grow leek as a companion plant in harvested potato and bean beds. Clear the ground of weeds and loosen the soil with a rake. Then fertilize it with 2 liters of compost per m². Garlic is often planted in rows for clarity.
To do this, stretch a cord between two pieces of wood in the bed.
Separate the individual cloves from a fresh bulb of garlic and first lay the cloves out on the bed. Leave a space of about 10 cm between each toe and about 30 cm between each row.
Plant garlic cloves
- dig planting holes
- Put cloves in the planting hole
Then, using a suitable gardening tool, such as a bulb planter, poke holes about 2cm to 3cm deep in the soil where you placed your cloves to mark. The cloves should be fresh, with no dried spots, and perfectly intact so they can grow roots quickly.
Then put the cloves in the planting hole. Make sure the tip is pointing up. You can recognize them by their flat, stretched-out membrane. The flat, slightly woody end with the root base comes down. The toes should be erect in the soil about twice as deep as they are high. A depth of about 5 cm and a distance of 15 cm between the garlic cloves is ideal.
After some time, the toes will automatically return to the surface during sprouting.
- Avoid waterlogging
- Remove weeds regularly
- fertilize the soil
Garlic plants are undemanding in care. Make sure the soil is not too wet. Onion plants like garlic do not tolerate waterlogging.
It would be best to keep the area as free as possible of weed growth by regularly hoeing with a cultivator; This keeps the soil loose and well-aerated. A long-term fertilizer provides the plants with the necessary nutrients for several weeks.
Onion plants such as garlic form only a very shallow root system when working in the bed, be careful not to injure it.
Cultivate under mulch film
- Lay mulch film
- Cut off the stem tips
With a mulch film, you can contain the weed growth during cultivation so that you don’t have to hoe constantly. The black film stores the soil heat, which also positively affects development. It also regulates the moisture in the soil by reducing evaporation.
Cut off the stem tips if you don’t want to harvest bulbs. Then the plant can put all its energy into forming a strong tuber.
- Harvest tubers as soon as the leaves wilt
- Hang to dry
You can harvest the tubers as soon as the leaves wither after about 3 to 4 months (from the start of spring cultivation). To do this, dig the entire plant from the ground with a hand shovel or digging fork. The bulb must not be open when you dig it out. Otherwise, the garlic will fall apart and will not keep for long. Then hang the garlic by the stalk in an airy place to dry for about ten days.
Garlic is also suitable for consumption when fresh. When dried, however, it can be stored for longer. When stored in a cool and dry place, the spicy tuber will keep for six to eight months. It saves space and is very decorative to tie the plant stems together in braids to dry.
Growing garlic in containers
Growing garlic in containers is a great option for those who don’t have a lot of space in their yard or garden. Not only does it allow you to grow your garlic, but it also adds a bit of greenery and freshness to your home.
To get started, you’ll need a container at least 10 inches deep with drainage holes. You can use any type of container, including plastic or clay pots, as long as it’s large enough to accommodate the garlic bulb.
Mix the container with potting soil and some organic fertilizer or compost. Break apart your garlic bulb and plant each clove about 2 inches deep, with the pointed end facing up. Make sure to space them out about 4-6 inches apart to give them room to grow.
Garlic needs plenty of sunlight and water to thrive, so place your container in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Water the soil regularly, making sure it stays moist but not soggy.
As the garlic grows, it will produce long, green leaves called scapes. These can be harvested and used in cooking. You can snip them off to encourage the garlic to focus its energy on producing a larger bulb.
After about 8-10 months, your garlic should be ready to harvest. When the leaves turn yellow and dry out, gently pull up the bulbs and brush off any excess soil. Allow the garlic to dry out in a cool place for a few weeks before using or storing it.
When to plant garlic?
There are two times when to plant garlic. Fall or spring is ideal. Hardy varieties are suitable for autumn cultivation. Since these are planted earlier, they have a head start in development. You can either harvest them earlier or let thicker tubers form.
Alternatively, you can plant garlic cloves in your garden in the spring. Then harvest the garlic in the summer when about two-thirds of the leaves have turned yellow. The garlic cloves planted in the spring form smaller bulbs. In terms of taste, however, the taste is the same as thicker tubers.
When planting garlic cloves, you have a few options to consider. For optimal growth in your garden, it’s best to go with a special plant, garlic, specifically adapted to your climate.
While it’s possible to grow ordinary garlic cloves that you might find at the grocery store, it’s worth noting that these strains often come from the Mediterranean region and require milder climates to thrive. If you do want to try growing these strains, it’s best to start them in a pot in a warm spot indoors, then transplant them outside once the weather has warmed up.
One thing to remember is that garlic doesn’t necessarily need to be grown in a traditional garden bed—plant garlic in a pot or planter at least 10cm deep.
Are you planting garlic bulblets or cloves?
There are two ways to plant garlic: In addition to planting garlic cloves, you can alternatively use brood onions, the so-called bulbils. These grow at the top of the garlic.
With the bulbil method, the garlic takes two years to form bulbs ready for harvesting. On the other hand, garlic from bulbils is more robust, and the bulbs are larger. All cloves can be used with this method, as none need to be saved for the next planting.
Plant the bulbs in the ground in spring with a planting distance of around 10 cm. The young plants draw in their leaves by the end of July. Then the grown logs are removed from the ground, stored in a shady and dry place until autumn, and planted back into the bed. This time, the planting distance is between 10 cm to 15 cm in the row and about 25 cm to 30 cm between the rows.
Best companion plants
Garlic is ideal for planting in mixed crops. Its intense scent keeps pests such as aphids away. Garlic also protects against mold and other fungi. Ideal partners for garlic plants are strawberries, carrots, beetroot, or tomatoes.
It is better to avoid planting leeks or onions next to garlic. All these plants belong to the leek family, the so-called Allioideae. They are closely related to garlic and are therefore attacked by the same pests. Therefore, keep to the crop rotation and do not plant garlic in a bed where there were leeks the previous year.
The shallot is a subspecies of the onion; it belongs to the leek genus and the amaryllis family. We have collected interesting facts about the location, planting, and care, as well as the storage and propagation of shallots. In our step-by-step guide, we explain how to plant shallots.
Best location to plant shallots
To protect against diseases, shallots need a sunny, warm, and airy location. Suppose you want to plant shallots (formerly Allium ascalonicum, now Allium cepa) in your garden. In that case, you should reserve such a location for the bulbous plant when designing the garden. The leek family (Allium) prefers loose and deep loamy soil to be sandy to humic.
If you have planted a bed with shallots, you should only use it again after three years for planting the onions. Otherwise, pathogens could colonize the soil. You can grow the medium eaters as a follow-up culture to tomatoes or legumes. Shallots are also suitable for growing in a mixed culture with other vegetables. The advantage of mixed cultures is that plants benefit each other. The shallot repels pests with its essential oil; This is less “biting” than kitchen onions, which is why the shallot also has a slightly milder taste than the kitchen onion – but it is sufficient to protect other vegetables within the mixed culture from pest infestation.
How to plant shallots?
When planting shallots, leave 6 inches (15 cm) between bulbs within each row. This space is necessary so that the shallot can form its typical “nests” of daughter onions. You should keep a distance of 20 cm to 30 cm between the rows; This is where the shallot differs from the onion, which only forms an onion.
Once you have successfully planted shallot sets, you can propagate shallots via their daughter onions. Choose medium to large-sized specimens for propagation and plant as described in our step-by-step guide. It would be best to store the home-grown onion sets in an airy and warm place until you plant them; This will improve their bolting resistance, which means the shallots will take longer to flower; This is important because premature flowering reduces the crop yield.
Tip: Plan the space required for the vegetables when designing the garden so that your planting project will succeed.
Plant shallots in the pot
If you want to plant shallots in a pot instead of in the vegetable garden, consider the bulbs’ large space requirements. So choose the largest possible plant pot. A raised bed is more suitable because it is more spacious. You can also include raised beds as structuring elements in the garden design or as privacy screens.
Grow shallots from seeds.
Instead of planting shallots, you can sow the onions with appropriate vegetable seeds. The plants then grow more slowly, meaning weeds can spread faster. To counteract the weeds, you can prefer the vegetables in a seedbed. Four to six weeks after sowing, you can transfer the young plants to the actual bed in the vegetable garden.
If you’re new to growing vegetables, consider starting with low-maintenance onion sets instead of growing shallots by seed. These are less susceptible to diseases and you can harvest them faster.
Tips for caring for shallots
You only need to water shallots in their growth phase during long dry periods. Usually, a single fertilization with compost before you plant the onion sets is sufficient. You should remove weeds regularly. As you chop the weeds, ensure the shallots’ flat roots remain intact. If you have planted winter onion sets, you should cover them with fleece in case of frost.
Harvesting and storing shallots
When the shallot leaves are wilting from August, you can harvest the onions. Winter onion sets are ready to harvest from the end of June. Don’t water the shallots before harvesting. Pick a sunny, dry day to gather and carefully lift the daughter bulbs out of the ground. But leave them in the bed for a few more days to dry there.
Then remove the remaining soil from the shallots and hang them up to dry. For this, the onions need a dark, well-ventilated place. Alternatively, you can store them in boxes. Only fill the boxes with one layer of onions so that the vegetables get enough air. When the outer onion skins have dried, you can either trim or tie the foliage. You can now fill the shallots in airy baskets or sacks that are suitable for harvesting and storage. They will keep in there for several months. You can eat the daughter onions or plant them again next year.
Tip: If the shallot leaves are still fresh, you can use them like chives for seasoning – they have an onion-like taste—an advantage of all plants belonging to the leek genus.
Planting shallots step by step.
March and April are the best months to plant shallots. An exception is winter onion sets, which you can grow in autumn. You can plant the onion in the ground-level bed of your vegetable garden, in a raised bed, or in a sufficiently large pot. A warm and sunny location is important to keep pests and diseases away. Learn how to plant shallots with our step-by-step guide.
. dig up the bed
. bring in compost
That’s how it goes
Prepare the soil of your vegetable patch with a starter fertilizer in the fall before planting. To do this, dig up the soil and prepare the bed with compost. You rake this flat into the ground.
Tip: Find out here in detail how to properly prepare a bed.
. Stick shallots
. Cover tops with soil
That’s how it goes
Plant the shallots in a row 15 cm apart. If you choose a larger distance, the bulbs will also be larger. If you plant several rows, make sure that they are 20 cm to 30 cm apart.
Plant the bulbs about 3 cm to 5 cm deep in the soil. The tip points up, the roots down. Shallots are more sensitive to cold than onions, so cover the tops lightly with soil. Winter onion sets should be planted deeper to protect them from the cold.
Note: When buying onion sets, make sure they are heat treated. Otherwise, flowers and seeds could form prematurely, resulting in a smaller harvest.
How to plant and grow garlic?
To plant garlic, break apart cloves from a bulb and plant them 2-3 inches deep in well-draining soil with full sun exposure, water them regularly, and harvest the bulbs when the leaves turn yellow and begin to die back.
How long does garlic take to grow?
Garlic typically takes 6-8 months to grow from planting to harvest. The exact timing may depend on the variety of garlic, the planting time, and the growing conditions.
How deep do you plant garlic?
Plant garlic cloves 2-3 inches deep with the pointed end facing up in well-draining soil that receives full sun exposure. The depth may vary slightly depending on the size of the clove and the growing conditions.
How far apart to plant garlic?
Plant individual garlic cloves 4-6 inches apart in rows spaced 12-18 inches apart to provide adequate room for the bulbs to grow and mature. The exact spacing may depend on the variety of garlic and the size of the cloves.
Where to buy elephant garlic?
You can buy elephant garlic from grocery stores, specialty food stores, farmers’ markets, online retailers like Amazon, Etsy, and specialty garlic suppliers like Filaree Garlic Farm, Territorial Seed Company, or Hood River Garlic.