Image by Rebecca Siegel
By Heather Rhoades
Garlic is a bulb and because it is a bulb, most garlic varieties need to have a certain amount of cold weather to form the tasty bulbs we like to eat. For gardeners in warmer climates, this can be a frustrating fact, but not one that needs to keep them from growing garlic in the garden. A little knowledge about garlic and garlic varieties is all it takes to know how to grow garlic successfully in warmer climates.
Gardeners in warmer climates, zone 7, zone 8 and zone 9, will have a difficult time growing garlic in the garden from just any garlic varieties. Most likely you will want to look for some of the gourmet or heirloom cultivars that grow well in warmer weather. These cultivars include:
- Marbled Purple Stripe
These cultivars may not be available at your local garden center but can be found online at many reputable online garlic dealers.
How to Plant Garlic
When and how to plant garlic in warmer climates is a bit different than in cooler climates. For one, you can plant the garlic later and, for two, you can harvest it sooner. Plan to plant your garlic in late October through early December.
When you plant your garlic, what you will be doing is growing garlic from cloves, so take one clove off the bulb and plant it into the prepared bed. Remember, just like flower bulbs, the pointy end of the clove goes up. You will want to plant the garlic clove about 8 – 10 inches down in the dirt. Space them about 6 – 8 inches apart.
How Does Garlic Grow in the Winter
In warmer climates, you can expect to see growth from your garlic all winter long. This will appear in the form of garlic greens coming from the clove. In cooler climates, the greens do not grow until spring. Don’t worry about the occasional drop in temperature, as garlic and its greens are more than able to handle the cold.
When to Harvest Garlic
In late spring or early summer, your garlic plant will start to flower. Let it flower. Once the flower is dead and the leaves have browned 1/2 to 2/3 of the way down the stem, dig your garlic up. This should happen no later than July.
Once you have harvested your garlic, you can store it and save some for growing garlic from cloves again in a few months.
The mystery of how to grow garlic in warmer climates is not really a mystery at all. With the right varieties and the right planting schedule you too can be growing garlic in the garden.