Planting garlic seed is a bit different than seed garlic cloves.
While seed garlic cloves will produce a harvestable crop the following year, garlic seed takes a bit longer before harvest.
The tiny bulbil is much smaller than a garlic clove, and the plant will need a full year to get established in the soil and grow to the size of a garlic clove.
Another year later, it’ll produce a full harvestable garlic bulb.
Garlic grown from bulbils can take up to three years to mature if the initial garlic seed was quite small.
In that time, they’ll mostly just need to be left alone.
Keep them in a mulched, weed-free bed and quietly bide your time until the eventual harvest of a huge crop of nearly free garlic.
Plant a garlic clove seedling, plant into holes 2-5cm deep and 10-20cm apart.
Ensure the clove is planted the pointy end up.
Water in well with an organic mulch.
Choose a pot 30-40cm in diameter.
Follow seed-> seedling -> harvest guide.
Garlic matures when its leaves are still partially green.
Garlic bulbs remain below ground during development, so it’s hard to know when they’re ready to harvest.
While there’s no standard number of leaves that garlic should have, a reliable harvest indicator is when half the leaves have died off, and half are still green.
The leaves start to die off from the bottom up.
indicates a layer of protective paper wrapped around the bulb.
A garlic plant with 10 green leaves, for example, will have 10 layers of bulb wrappers.
Just don’t wait until all the leaves have died back before you start to harvest.
Without the bulb wrappers protecting the garlic head, the cloves may separate and the garlic won’t store well.
After the garlic has grown tall and healthy, it sends out a coiling flower known as a garlic scape.
Generally, those garlic scapes are cut off as soon as they appear because if the plant puts its energy into seed, it won’t produce a large bulb.
In late summer and early fall, they mature into heavy heads with small garlic bulbils and those are true garlic seed.
Start by leaving a few scapes on garlic plants in the spring.
They’ll mature into garlic seed by the late summer, and be ready for harvest once they dry and the plant begins to die back.
The garlic bulb at the base of the plant will still be usable and fully formed, but likely much smaller than the other bulbs nearby.
Break the bulbils apart and leave them to dry in a protected, well-ventilated area for a few days.
Since they’re not underground they condition much faster than curing a garlic bulb.
After a few days, store them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight until the fall.
Zone 1 - Cool
May , June
Zone 2 - Temperate
May , June
Zone 3 - Subtropical
May , June