How To Grow Garlic In Colorado

Welcome to your guide on how to grow garlic in Colorado! Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing your own garlic can be a rewarding and flavorful experience. In this article, we’ll explore the best garlic varieties for Colorado’s climate, when and how to plant your garlic, proper watering techniques, when to harvest, and some fun facts along the way. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose the right garlic variety based on Colorado’s climate.
  • Plant garlic before the first hard freeze, usually around October 1st.
  • Amend the soil with compost and plant cloves 1-2 inches deep.
  • Proper watering is essential, especially during dry periods and light winters.
  • Harvest garlic when the green tops have flowered and cured properly for storage.

Different Types of Garlic

When it comes to growing garlic, it’s important to know that there are three main types of garlic: hardneck, softneck, and elephant. Each variety offers its own unique characteristics and flavors, making them suitable for different culinary uses.

Hardneck garlic is known for its robust flavor and large cloves. It gets its name from the hard stem that grows in the center of the bulb. Hardneck varieties are more suitable for harsh climates like Colorado, as they can tolerate colder temperatures and have a shorter growing season.

Softneck garlic, on the other hand, has a milder flavor and a longer shelf life. Softneck varieties do not produce a hard stem and instead have a flexible neck. They are better suited for mild climates and have a longer growing season compared to hardneck garlic.

Elephant garlic is the largest variety and is often mistaken for a type of leek. It has a mild flavor and produces fewer cloves than other varieties. Elephant garlic is a great option for those who prefer a milder taste and want to add a unique twist to their dishes.

Garlic Variety Flavor Growing Season
Hardneck Garlic Robust Shorter
Softneck Garlic Mild Longer
Elephant Garlic Mild Longer

“Each variety of garlic offers its own unique flavor profile, allowing you to experiment with different tastes in your recipes. Whether you prefer a strong, robust flavor or a milder taste, there’s a garlic variety for everyone’s palate.”

When to Plant Your Garlic

Planting garlic in Colorado requires timing it just right to ensure successful growth. The recommended time to plant garlic is around October 1st, before the first hard freeze of the season. This timing allows the cloves to establish roots during the winter months, before the ground begins to warm in early spring. Garlic needs a period of cold weather for 4-8 weeks, and planting it before winter ensures that it receives the necessary cold treatment.

By planting garlic at the appropriate time, you give it the best chance to develop a strong root system and establish itself before the growing season begins. This will lead to healthier plants and larger bulbs come harvest time.

Table: Optimal Planting Time for Garlic

Region Optimal Planting Time
Colorado October 1st
Other Northern States September – October
Milder Climates October – November

Remember that these planting times are general guidelines and may vary depending on your specific location and climate. It’s always a good idea to consult with local gardening resources or experienced gardeners in your area for more precise planting recommendations.

How to Plant Your Garlic

Planting garlic is a straightforward process that requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure successful garlic cultivation:

Prepare the Soil

Before planting your garlic cloves, it’s essential to amend the soil with organic compost. This will help improve the soil’s structure and provide essential nutrients for the garlic plants. Spread a layer of compost evenly over the planting area and use a garden fork or tiller to incorporate it into the soil.

Break and Plant the Bulbs

To plant garlic, break the bulb into individual cloves, making sure to keep the papery outer skin intact. Plant the cloves 6 inches apart in rows, with 8 inches of space between the rows. Plant them 1-2 inches deep, ensuring that the pointy end faces up. This will give the cloves the best chance to sprout and grow into healthy garlic plants.

Water and Mulch

After planting, give the garlic cloves a light watering if the soil is dry. This will help settle the soil around the cloves and provide them with the necessary moisture to start rooting. Once the garlic is planted, cover the planting area with a layer of mulch to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and protect the garlic plants from extreme temperature fluctuations.

Table: Planting Garlic Instructions

Step Instructions
1 Prepare the soil by amending it with organic compost.
2 Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves, keeping the outer skin intact.
3 Plant the cloves 6 inches apart in rows, with 8 inches of space between rows.
4 Plant the cloves 1-2 inches deep, with the pointy end facing up.
5 Water the garlic cloves lightly after planting if the soil is dry.
6 Cover the planting area with mulch to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

By following these planting instructions, you’ll give your garlic cloves the best chance to thrive and grow into delicious, flavorful bulbs. Remember to provide adequate water throughout the growing season and monitor the soil moisture to ensure optimal conditions for your garlic plants.

planting garlic

How to Water Your Garlic

Proper watering is essential for the successful growth of garlic. While garlic requires relatively less water compared to other vegetables, it still needs adequate moisture to thrive. Here are some important watering instructions to ensure your garlic plants stay healthy and productive:

Watering After Planting:

After planting garlic cloves, give them a light watering if the ground is dry. This initial watering helps to settle the soil and promote root growth. Avoid overwatering, as garlic prefers well-drained soil.

Winter Watering:

In areas with light winters or if there is no snow cover, additional winter watering may be necessary for garlic. Watering should be done when the weather is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no snow on the ground. This ensures that the garlic receives sufficient moisture during the dormant period.

If there is still snow on the ground, additional watering may not be needed as the melting snow provides enough moisture for the garlic plants.

Monitoring Soil Moisture:

It’s important to monitor the moisture level of the soil throughout the growing season. Garlic plants prefer evenly moist soil but can tolerate some dry spells. Use your finger to check the moisture level by inserting it into the soil near the plants. If the top inch of soil feels dry, it’s time to water.

Remember to adjust your watering schedule based on the weather conditions, as excessive rainfall or prolonged periods of rain may require reduced watering.

watering garlic

Proper watering is crucial for the health and productivity of your garlic plants. By following these watering instructions, you can ensure that your garlic receives the right amount of moisture throughout the growing season. Remember to strike a balance between providing enough water and avoiding overwatering, as garlic prefers well-drained soil.

When to Harvest Your Garlic

Harvesting garlic at the right time is crucial to ensure optimal flavor and bulb development. In Colorado, garlic is generally ready to be harvested in the fall. Look for the green tops of the garlic plants to flower, indicating that the bulbs are mature and ready for harvesting. Once the flower dies, there is a two-week window to harvest the garlic before the bulbs start to degrade.

The exact timing of garlic harvest can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions. It’s important to monitor your garlic plants closely and harvest them at the appropriate time. Harvesting too early can result in underdeveloped bulbs, while waiting too long can lead to overripe bulbs that won’t store well.

When harvesting garlic, gently loosen the soil around the bulbs using a garden fork or shovel. Be careful not to damage the bulbs in the process. Once the bulbs are free from the soil, allow them to dry in a well-ventilated area for about two weeks. This process, known as curing, helps to enhance the flavor and extend the shelf life of the garlic.

Garlic Variety Harvest Time Curing Time
Hardneck Garlic Late July to early August 4-6 weeks
Softneck Garlic Mid to late July 3-4 weeks
Elephant Garlic Mid to late July 3-4 weeks

Remember to label your harvested garlic bulbs with the variety and date of harvest. Properly stored garlic can last for several months, providing you with a fresh supply of flavorful cloves to use in your cooking throughout the year.

harvesting garlic

Fun Fact About Harvesting Garlic

Did you know that harvesting garlic provides more than just bulbs? Garlic scapes, the curly stalks that grow from the bulb, can also be harvested and used in various dishes. Not only do they add a unique visual element to your meals, but they also bring a distinct flavor that garlic lovers will appreciate.

Garlic scapes have a milder taste compared to the bulb, making them an interesting addition to culinary creations. They offer a slightly sweet and garlicky flavor, with hints of freshness and vibrancy. Their texture is crisp and tender, adding a satisfying crunch to your dishes.

When cooking with garlic scapes, you can showcase their flavor by using them raw in salads or as a garnish for dips and spreads. They can also be sautéed, stir-fried, or roasted to bring out their delicate flavor. From pestos and pasta dishes to soups and omelets, there are countless possibilities for incorporating garlic scapes into your cooking repertoire.

“Garlic scapes offer a milder taste compared to the bulb, making them an interesting addition to culinary creations.”

harvesting garlic scapes

Using Garlic Scapes in Your Kitchen

Not only do garlic scapes bring a unique flavor to your dishes, but they also offer a beautiful visual touch. Their vibrant green color and curly shape can elevate the presentation of your culinary creations. Whether you’re a garlic enthusiast or simply looking to experiment with new ingredients, garlic scapes provide an exciting opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.

Next time you’re harvesting garlic, don’t forget to collect those delightful scapes. They are a delicious reminder of the versatility and culinary potential that garlic has to offer. Give them a try and discover a whole new world of flavors and textures in your cooking.

Benefits of Harvesting Garlic Scapes:

  • Unique flavor: Garlic scapes add a milder, sweet and garlicky taste to your dishes.
  • Crunchy texture: Their crisp and tender texture brings a satisfying crunch to your meals.
  • Visual appeal: The vibrant green color and curly shape of garlic scapes enhance the presentation of your dishes.
  • Versatile ingredient: Garlic scapes can be used raw in salads, as a garnish, or cooked in various recipes.

Varieties of Garlic Available

If you’re looking to grow garlic in Colorado, it’s important to choose the right variety that will thrive in the local climate. At Bath Garden Center, we offer a wide selection of garlic varieties that are specifically chosen to excel in Colorado’s unique conditions.

Our garlic varieties include:

  • Spanish Roja Garlic
  • Killarney Red Garlic
  • Elephant Garlic
  • California Garlic

Each variety has its own specific sun requirements, height, spacing, and planting depth. By selecting the right garlic variety for your Colorado garden, you can ensure successful and flavorful harvests.

Varieties of Garlic

Spanish Roja Garlic

The Spanish Roja Garlic variety is known for its rich and robust flavor. It has a purple-streaked bulb wrapper and produces large cloves that are perfect for culinary use. Spanish Roja Garlic performs well in cold climates and is an excellent choice for Colorado gardeners.

Killarney Red Garlic

Killarney Red Garlic is a hardy variety that thrives in colder climates. It has a reddish-brown bulb wrapper and produces medium-sized cloves with a spicy flavor. This variety is well-suited for Colorado’s climate and offers a unique taste to your dishes.

Elephant Garlic

If you’re looking for a milder flavor and larger bulb size, Elephant Garlic is the perfect choice. Despite its name, Elephant Garlic is not a true garlic but a member of the leek family. It has a mild and sweet flavor, making it versatile for various culinary creations.

California Garlic

California Garlic is a softneck variety that offers a longer shelf life and is best suited for milder climates. It has a white bulb wrapper and produces small to medium-sized cloves. While not specifically bred for colder climates, California Garlic can still thrive in Colorado when given proper care and attention.

At Bath Garden Center, we are passionate about providing gardeners with the highest quality garlic varieties that are well-suited for Colorado’s growing conditions. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, our garlic varieties offer a range of flavors and characteristics to enhance your gardening experience.

Planting Garlic Tips & Recommendations

When it comes to successful garlic growing in Colorado, there are a few key tips and recommendations to keep in mind. These will help you ensure that your garlic thrives in the specific climate and conditions of the region.

Choosing the Right Garlic Variety

One of the most important factors in successful garlic cultivation in Colorado is selecting the right variety. Hardneck garlic varieties, such as Spanish Roja Garlic and Killarney Red Garlic, are particularly well-suited to the harsh climate of the region. These varieties have developed to withstand the cold winters and short growing seasons, making them a reliable choice for Colorado gardeners.

Planting Before the First Hard Freeze

Timing is crucial when planting garlic in Colorado. It’s important to get your garlic cloves in the ground before the first hard freeze, which typically occurs around October 1st. This allows the cloves to take advantage of the cold weather and develop strong roots before the ground freezes solid. Planting at the right time will give your garlic the best chance of survival and growth.

Amending the Soil and Proper Planting

Preparing the soil is another essential step for successful garlic cultivation. Amend the soil with organic compost to improve its fertility and drainage. This will create an optimal environment for the garlic cloves to establish themselves and grow. When planting the cloves, make sure to plant them with the pointy end facing up, about 1-2 inches deep. Proper planting ensures that the garlic bulbs have enough room to develop and allows for easy harvesting later on.

Providing Proper Watering

Watering is also crucial for the successful growth of garlic in Colorado. While garlic generally doesn’t require excessive watering during the winter months, it’s important to water the cloves after planting if the ground is dry. Additionally, if there is no snow on the ground during the winter and the weather is above 40 degrees, you may need to provide some additional watering. However, if there is sufficient snow cover, additional watering may not be necessary as the garlic will receive moisture from the snow.

By following these tips and recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to successful garlic growing in Colorado. Remember to choose the right garlic varieties, plant at the appropriate time, amend the soil, and provide proper watering. With a little care and attention, you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful harvest of delicious homegrown garlic.


Congratulations on taking the first step towards growing your own garlic in Colorado! With the right varieties and proper techniques, you can enjoy the flavor and freshness of homegrown garlic in your culinary creations. Here are some essential tips and recommendations to help you succeed in your garlic cultivation journey.

First, make sure to choose garlic varieties that are suitable for Colorado’s climate. Hardneck garlic varieties are more resilient in harsh conditions, while softneck varieties have a longer shelf life. Consider options like Spanish Roja Garlic, Killarney Red Garlic, Elephant Garlic, or California Garlic available at Bath Garden Center.

Remember to plant your garlic before the first hard freeze, typically around October 1st. Amend the soil with compost to ensure optimal growth and break the bulb into cloves, planting them 1-2 inches deep with the pointy end up. Proper watering is crucial, especially if the ground is dry during planting and if there is no snow on the ground during winter.

When it comes to harvesting, wait for the green tops of the garlic to flower and then harvest within the two-week window after the flowers die. Don’t forget about the flavorful garlic scapes, which can be harvested before they bloom and added to your favorite dishes.

By following these garlic cultivation tips and recommendations, you’ll be well on your way to growing your own delicious garlic in Colorado. Enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting and using your homegrown garlic, knowing that it was nurtured by your green thumb. Happy gardening!


What are the different types of garlic?

The different types of garlic are hardneck, softneck, and elephant garlic.

Which garlic variety is best for harsh climates like Colorado?

Hardneck varieties are more suitable for harsh climates like Colorado.

Which garlic variety has the longest shelf life?

Softneck varieties have a longer shelf life compared to other varieties.

What is the flavor of elephant garlic?

Elephant garlic has a mild flavor and is the largest variety of garlic.

When should I plant garlic in Colorado?

Garlic should be planted before the first hard freeze, typically around October 1st.

How long does garlic need cold weather to develop roots?

Garlic needs a period of cold weather for 4-8 weeks to develop roots.

How do I plant garlic?

To plant garlic, amend the soil with compost, break the bulb into cloves, and plant them 1-2 inches deep.

Do I need to water garlic during planting?

You should water garlic if the ground is dry during planting.

Do I need to water garlic during winter?

Winter watering may be necessary if there is no snow on the ground. Monitor the moisture levels and water if needed.

When is garlic ready to be harvested?

Garlic is generally ready to be harvested in the fall. The green tops of the garlic will flower, indicating that it is ready to be harvested.

What can I do with garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes, which are the stalks that grow from the bulb, can be harvested before they bloom and used in cooking to add a pungent garlic taste.

What garlic varieties are available at Bath Garden Center?

Bath Garden Center offers a variety of garlic options including Spanish Roja Garlic, Killarney Red Garlic, Elephant Garlic, and California Garlic.

What are some tips for successful garlic growing?

Some tips for successful garlic growing include choosing the right garlic variety for Colorado’s climate, planting before the first hard freeze, amending the soil with compost, and providing proper watering.

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