DIY Network

How to Grow Garlic and Shallots

Just because garlic and shallots are expensive at the market, doesn’t mean they are difficult to grow in the garden.

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garlic is a hardy and adaptable garden plant
  • Time

    Several Months

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Purchase the Garlic and Shallots

The best place to buy shallots and garlic for planting is from a farmers market. Just make sure the varieties are locally grown, ensuring they are a good fit for one’s particular climate. Each shallot bulb and garlic clove will grow into an entire plant. Buy only healthy, firm bulbs and heads.

shallots are very easy to grow from bulbs

Step 2: Separate the Bulbs and Heads

Each head of garlic is made up of cloves. Break up the heads into individual cloves, reserving the largest ones for planting. If shallot clusters are comprised of multiple bulbs, separate them, reserving the largest ones for planting.

garlic is a hardy and adaptable garden plant

Step 3: Plant the Garlic and Shallots

Garlic and shallots prefer fertile soil that is loose and well-drained. Both can be planted in the fall for summer harvest. Place each shallot bulb root-side down in a hole so that the top is level with the soil surface. Space the bulbs 5" apart. Place each garlic clove root-side down in a hole so that the top is 2" below the soil surface. Space the cloves 4" to 6" apart. Water all plants well.

plant garlic cloves in a row pointed side up

Step 4: Cultivate the Plants

Garlic benefits from a thick layer of mulch after planting. The plants will emerge through the mulch in early spring. Shallots should not be mulched as the tender shoots have difficulty emerging through the mulch. When the plants emerge in spring, feed them with 10-10-10 fertilizer. Mulch the shallot plants when they reach about 5". Water the garlic and shallots regularly so they have consistent moisture.

cover onions with mulch until ready to harvest

Step 5: Harvest the Garlic and Shallots

Harvest garlic and shallots in summer when the leaves begin to yellow and die back. Harvest the plants by hand so as to not damage the bulbs and heads. Cure the plants for storage by hanging them in a shady spot with good air circulation.

onions,shallots and garlic best harvested by hand