Plant garlic cloves under at least 1.5 inches of soil. Large cloves produce larger bulbs, and can be planted under 2 inches of soil. Sprouts normally emerge from soil within about 7-14 days, and first leaves normally appear within about 2-3 weeks (or longer during cold weather).
For vigorous softneck varieties, space plants at least 6 inches apart when planted in rows at least 8-10 inches apart. Less-vigorous varieties or those that produce smaller bulbs can be planted 5-6 inches apart in rows that are at least 6-8 inches apart. Garlic can be planted biointensively in grids or triangulated from centers with spacing of about 6-8 inches between plants depending upon plant vigor and anticipated bulb size.
Garlic has a long growing season, usually about 5 – 8 months, depending on variety and many environmental factors including seasonal temperatures and soil fertility. Most softneck garlic varieties need at least 6 months to reach maximum bulb size from fall through spring in Southern California. Silverskin varieties may need 7-8 months or longer for full-sized bulbs.
Garlic is normally cured for about 2-4 weeks before being stored. See Harvesting and Curing Garlic.
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