Do you Peel Garlic Before Planting? (Email Q&A)

I’m starting this a mini series to quickly answer questions that I get emailed in to me.  Hopefully they will help other readers too. I’m looking into adding a forum to the website also, it might be easier for people to get their growing problems resolved.

This question was emailed in a couple of days ago from Amy in Chester:

“Do you Peel Garlic Before Planting?”

When planting garlic, you do not peel the individual cloves before planting them. Instead, you plant whole, unpeeled garlic cloves directly into the soil.

Here’s how to correctly plant garlic cloves:

  1. Select the Cloves: Choose the garlic bulbs you want to plant. Carefully separate the individual cloves from the bulb. Keep the papery skin that surrounds each clove intact.
  2. Prepare the Soil: Choose a sunny, well-drained location in your garden. Garlic prefers loose, fertile soil. You can amend the soil with compost or organic matter to improve its quality.
  3. Planting Depth: Plant each garlic clove about 2 inches (5 cm) deep with the pointed end facing up. The flat, root end should be planted facing downward.
  4. Spacing: Space the cloves approximately 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart within the row. Leave about 12 inches (30 cm) between rows to allow for proper growth and easy access.
  5. Mulch: After planting, apply a layer of mulch (such as straw or leaves) to help regulate soil temperature and moisture and to suppress weed growth.
  6. Water: Water the garlic cloves well after planting to settle the soil and provide moisture for the cloves to start rooting.
  7. Wait for Growth: As the weather warms, the garlic cloves will start to sprout and send up green shoots. These shoots will eventually develop into garlic plants.

Remember that each garlic clove you plant will grow into a new garlic plant, forming a bulb with multiple cloves. The papery skin around each clove helps protect it during the planting and growing process. Avoid removing this skin before planting, as it is essential for the garlic’s protection and development.