The sun and soil requirements for growing garlic aren’t entirely strict, but there are certainly conditions that garlic loves to grow in best, and will produce the largest bulbs.
For example, garlic grows best in a location that gets at least six hours of direct sun each day. Choose a site that will get the required amount of sun throughout the growing season for your garden region. If you don’t have a space that gets full sun, choose a site that gets partial sun during the hottest part of the day.
In addition to sun, garlic needs well-draining soil in order to thrive. Because it’s a root vegetable, garlic grows best in a loamy soil; it needs loose, non-compacted soil in order to develop large bulbs. It’s best to plant garlic in a spot that recently grew other vegetables or herbs, as these plants may have loosened the soil. You can also plant garlic with companion plants that have similar soil requirements.
You can add compost or well-aged manure to the soil prior to planting for extra nutrients that will help your garlic bulbs grow big and strong. Till the soil 10 inches deep and then amend the top 2 to 4 inches with manure or compost. Garlic loves manure and compost, so don’t skimp on this step! Manure contains the potassium garlic needs to develop large, strong bulbs. Garlic can rot in overly moist soil, so don’t overwater or plant it in a damp area of the garden.
If you have heavy, clay soil in your area, grow your garlic in a raised bed with the soil prepared as described above.
When growing garlic in a hot climate, it’s important to water your plants regularly. During especially hot, dry summers, you may need to water your garlic every day or two in order for it to stay healthy. Be sure to water at the base of the plant or with a soaker hose, rather than overhead watering, as this can lead to mold and mildew problems that can cause your garlic bulbs to rot.
What sun and soil requirements have worked best for your garlic? Please tell us your tips and tricks for growing great garlic!