How To Grow Garlic In Missouri

Garlic is a popular crop in Missouri. It is easy to grow and provides a great flavor to many recipes. Growing garlic in Missouri requires a few simple steps: preparing the soil, planting the cloves, and harvesting the bulbs.

With the right soil, water, and sunlight, you can have a successful garlic harvest in Missouri. By following this guide, you will learn how to grow garlic in Missouri and get the best out of your crop.

About Growing Garlic in Missouri

Garlic, a cool-season crop, generally thrives in Missouri’s climate, characterized by mild to moderately cold winters and warm summers. Hardneck garlic varieties are usually recommended for Missouri, as they are more tolerant of cold winters. These varieties also produce “scapes,” or flower stalks, which are a delicious early-summer treat.

Missouri’s diverse climate, ranging from USDA Hardiness Zones 5b to 7a, provides a favorable environment for garlic growth, especially if properly timed and cared for. The best time to plant garlic in Missouri is in the fall, ideally between mid-October and early November, allowing the cloves enough time to establish roots before the soil freezes.

Choosing the Right Garlic Varieties

Garlic is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, choosing the right garlic variety can make all the difference in the flavor and texture of your dish.

Different types of garlic have different flavors, textures, and uses. Some varieties are better for roasting, while others are better for pickling or adding a pungent flavor to sauces. Knowing which type of garlic to choose for a particular dish can help you get the best flavor and texture.

Besides, different types of garlic may have different health benefits. For example, some varieties are higher in antioxidants than others. When choosing garlic, it’s important to consider the flavor, texture, and health benefits of each variety to ensure you get the best results.

With the right knowledge and selection, you can make the most of this delicious and versatile ingredient.

Preparing the Soil

“Preparing the Soil” is an essential step in creating a successful and flourishing garden. The soil is the foundation of your garden, providing the necessary nutrients for your plants to thrive.

It’s important to ensure the soil is in the best condition possible, which includes testing the pH levels, adding compost or fertilizer, and incorporating organic matter. By doing so, you will ensure a healthy garden and a bountiful harvest.

Not to mention, the satisfaction of growing something with your own hands. Make sure to prepare the soil before planting and your garden will thank you for it!

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Step-by-step Guide on Planting Garlic

Step 1: Choosing Garlic Variety and Bulbs

Start with healthy, high-quality garlic bulbs, preferably from a local nursery or farmers’ market. Hardneck varieties like ‘German White’, ‘Spanish Roja’, or ‘Music’ are excellent choices for Missouri’s climate.

Step 2: Preparing the Soil

Choose a location that receives full sun. Prepare the soil by adding a layer of compost or well-rotted manure to ensure the soil is rich in organic matter. Garlic prefers well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.

Step 3: Planting the Cloves

Break apart the garlic bulbs into individual cloves right before planting. Plant each clove with the pointy end facing up, about 1-2 inches deep, and 4-6 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart.

Step 4: Mulching

After planting, cover the bed with a thick layer of mulch (straw, hay, or shredded leaves) to protect the cloves from temperature fluctuations during the winter and to conserve moisture in the growing season.

Step 5: Spring Care

In spring, when the green shoots begin to grow, supplement with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Keep the area weed-free and ensure regular watering throughout the growing season.

Step 6: Harvesting

Garlic is typically ready to harvest in mid to late summer when the lower leaves have turned brown, and the upper leaves are still green. Carefully lift the bulbs out of the ground, allow them to dry for a few weeks in a shady, well-ventilated location, then trim the stems and roots, and store in a cool, dry place.

Extra Features of Growing Garlic in Missouri

Missouri’s climate allows for the unique opportunity to enjoy garlic scapes, which are only produced by hardneck garlic varieties. Scapes start to form in the spring and should be harvested when they make a full curl to ensure they’re tender and flavorful. They make a great addition to pesto, stir-fries, and salads.

Caring for the Garlic

Garlic is a relatively low-maintenance crop, but to ensure a successful harvest, you should follow certain care steps throughout its growing cycle.

1. Watering:

Garlic plants need evenly moist soil; however, they do not do well in waterlogged conditions. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week during dry periods, especially while the bulbs are forming in the spring and early summer. Decrease watering as harvest time approaches to avoid molding or staining of the bulbs.

2. Weeding:

Weeds can be a significant issue in garlic beds, as garlic doesn’t compete well with them. Regular weeding is essential to prevent competition for nutrients and water. Mulching can also help in preventing weed growth and maintaining soil moisture.

3. Fertilizing:

While garlic plants are growing green leaves, they benefit from nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Feed your garlic plants in the spring and early summer to support healthy growth. Use a balanced organic fertilizer or well-rotted manure to provide necessary nutrients.

4. Pest and Disease Management:

Although garlic is generally pest-resistant, it can occasionally suffer from problems like onion thrips, nematodes, white rot, and rust. Rotate your garlic planting location from year to year to reduce the chance of disease. If pests or diseases do appear, use organic pest control methods and remove affected plants to avoid the spread.

5. Harvesting Scapes:

If you’re growing hardneck garlic varieties, they’ll produce a flower stalk known as a “scape”. Cutting off these scapes when they’ve made one or two loops will encourage more energy to go into the bulb, increasing the bulb’s size. Garlic scapes are edible and have a mild garlic flavor, making a delicious addition to many dishes.

6. Preparing for Harvest:

As harvest time (mid to late summer in Missouri) approaches, leaves will start to brown. When about one-third of the leaves are brown, it’s time to stop watering. Once a majority of the leaves have turned brown, test dig a few bulbs to see if they’re ready to harvest. If the cloves fill out the skins, it’s harvest time. If not, wait a few more days and check again.

However, these general care tips should set you on the path to a bountiful garlic harvest.

FAQs About the How To Grow Garlic In Missouri

What type of soil is best for growing garlic in Missouri?

Answer: Garlic prefers well-draining, loose soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure will help improve soil drainage and fertility.

When is the best time to plant garlic in Missouri?

Answer: Garlic should be planted in late fall, 4-6 weeks before the first hard freeze. Planting in late September or early October will help your garlic get established before winter.

How much water do I need to give my garlic plants?

Answer: Garlic plants need 1-2 inches of water per week. During hotter months, water more frequently to prevent the bulbs from drying out.


Overall, growing garlic in Missouri is a rewarding experience that takes time and patience. It can be grown both indoors and outdoors, but outdoors is the preferred option. You must select the right variety for the region, prepare the soil, amend the soil, plant the cloves, water the plants, fertilize, and harvest the garlic properly. By following these steps, you can enjoy garlic in Missouri year round.


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