When to plant garlic in Melbourne, Victoria

Choosing the right time to plant garlic is important if you want to get the best yield.

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Fortunately, Melbourne offers great conditions for growing garlic, so with the right information at hand, you should be on your way to a plentiful harvest.

Below, we explain when the right time is to plant garlic in Melbourne.

When to plant garlic in Melbourne

The best time to plant garlic in Melbourne is from March to May. This is approximately when your soil will get down to 10 degrees Celcius, which is the optimal temperature for garlic cloves to be planted.

Most varieties of garlic require at least one or two months in the range of 0–10°C.

Garlic planted in autumn is ready for harvest in late spring or early summer depending on the variety you choose.

When is it too late to plant garlic?

Garlic can be planted as late as June in most of Victoria.

However, planting in winter risks the garlic not growing properly due to the days being too short.

Can you grow garlic in summer?

It’s important to note that garlic is a cool-season crop.

Melbourne summers are too warm to plant garlic, as the soil temperature needs to get down to 10°C.

If you were to plant garlic in summer, not only would it not grow properly but it might also result in bulbs that don’t separate into individual cloves.

How long does garlic take to grow?

Cloves take about 7-9 months to grow and are generally ready for harvesting in the spring or summer.

The best time to pull garlic from the ground is when the tops start to dry and turn brown.

The lower leaves on your plant turning yellow or brown is another sign that your garlic is ready for harvest.

How to prepare your soil for garlic

When choosing where to plant your garlic, make sure the soil is well-draining and rich in organic matter (such as compost and/or manure).

You may also want to add lime before planting if your garden soil is acidic. Garlic will thrive in an environment with pH levels between 6-7.

If you’re going to grow garlic in a raised bed or another container, make sure it’s free-draining and has plenty of drainage holes.

How deep to plant garlic

Your garlic cloves should be planted 2-3cm deep and pointy end facing upwards. Space cloves 10-15cm apart, and cover with a 5cm layer of mulch.

As a general rule, you should leave the skin that covers each clove intact.

Water regularly until the plants are established, and ensure the soil doesn’t dry out. It usually takes about two weeks for young garlic stems to emerge from the soil.

Once green leaves start to turn yellow, it’s time to harvest!

Can you plant a garlic clove that has sprouted?

Yes, you can plant a garlic clove that has sprouted.

Just make sure that the cloves are firm and healthy and always select the biggest ones for planting (discard or eat the smaller ones).

What grows well next to garlic?

Garlic is a powerful companion plant because it deters common pests including aphids, snails, and cabbage loopers.

Garlic is often grown in the same bed as cabbage, spinach, dill, beets, kale, and potatoes.

Fruit trees, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers are also good companion plants for garlic.

What can you not plant next to garlic?

Garlic shouldn’t be planted next to asparagus, peas, beans and parsley because it is known to inhibit their growth.

Types of garlic

Garlic is generally divided into two categories: hardneck and softneck.

  • Hardneck garlic grows clusters of cloves around a central stalk, which becomes woody as the plant matures.
  • Softneck garlic has a rounder bulb without a woody stalk.

The two types both come in several varieties with different flavours, textures and uses.

FAQ

Does garlic need full sun?

As a rule, garlic needs six to eight hours of full sun each day, which is considered full sun. If this isn’t possible, plant your cloves in the spot that gets the most sun. The cloves will produce smaller bulbs than they would in full sun, but they’ll still be tasty!

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY, and is always up for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking delicious meals from fresh produce picked from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.