How To Grow Garlic In Michigan: All You Need to Know

Garlic has a reputation for being easy to grow, but does it do well in colder regions? More specifically, does garlic do well in Michigan?

The good news is yes, you can grow garlic in Michigan. If you want a higher chance of winter survivability then it’s recommended you choose the hardneck varieties than the softnecks. However, you can typically grow any garlic type you want as long as you give it the proper care.

When to Plant Garlic in Michigan?

How To Grow Garlic In Michigan

The best time to plant garlic in Michigan is during fall season and just before the ground gets touched by the frost. The month mostly depends on your particular region but it’s somewhere around October.

You’ll find that you can also plant garlic in spring and once all frost has passed, but then yield and quality tend to suffer.

Garlic type is divided into hardneck and softneck varieties. Hardnecks produce a rigid ‘scape’ or something that looks like a stalk and usually grows upright, while softnecks have a more flexible ‘scape’ that can be braided. Aside from the aesthetics, hardneck varieties tend to be more cold hardy but they have a shorter shelf life, while softneck varieties produce lower yields but can be kept for longer.

How Long Does Garlic Take to Grow in Michigan?

How To Grow Garlic In Michigan

It’s worth noting that garlic produces three different products- the bulb that we commonly see in supermarkets, the green garlic and the scape.

Scapes are the flower stalks and can be used as an ingredient in many dishes. One way to determine if it’s ready to harvest is when it curls up in a circle. You can cut the scape using garden shears or a sharp scissor and leave the bulb in the ground.

Green garlic is the state of the garlic prior to the plant becoming a whole bulb. Typically, green garlic can be harvested in June if the bulbs are planted late spring, or April if the bulb was planted in late fall.

Bulb is the final form of the garlic plant and usually harvested once the scape dies back and goes half-brown. Gardeners can get ready to pull out the bulbs in July and only during dry weather.

Generally, garlic takes approximately 10 months to reach its bulb state. If you planted them in fall then you can probably harvest them come June or July.

It’s worth noting that garlic can also be planted in containers. You should follow the planting schedule as with its ground-based counterparts, which means a fall planting before the weather gets too cold. You should also provide the same growing requirements- full sun and lots of organic compost.

How to Grow Garlic

How To Grow Garlic In Michigan

The first step to growing garlic in the state of Michigan is to prep the soil. Your medium should contain plenty of well-rotted manure and organic compost, and water should be able to pass through without any problem. For those with clay soil, it’s recommended that you mix in grit or sand to improve aeration and consistency.

Break up garlic into individual cloves, which will turn into a whole new bulb when the time is right. For spacing, it’s best to bury them 15 cm apart from each other and 30 cm space if you intend to plant them in rows. If you’re using a container then the minimum depth is 9cm.

Plant the clove facing upwards to increase survivability and at a depth of an inch or two. The tip should be visible just above soil level. Afterwards, water them in well and wait for the stalks to appear.

Garlic likes full sun best, so choose a site that gets six hours of direct sunlight as the minimum.

If you want to get bigger bulbs then it’s recommended that you cut or remove the scape, which then forces the garlic to divert its energy towards itself. Wait a few months and check regularly if the leaves start turning brown- once 40 percent of them are this way then you can dig up the garlic for harvest.

How To Grow Garlic In Michigan: conclusion

Dig up the garlic on a hot and sunny day so you can lay them out to dry. Then, you can start the cycle over by breaking up the cloves and replanting them the same way.

Related Article: When to Plant Garlic