Kids Go Gardening - grow garlic

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To grow the best garlic get NZ grown garlic bulbs for planting from the garden centre. If you don’t have a sunny patch of garden soil, you can grow your garlic in containers.

Grow garlic in a pot

You will need:

  • A planter bag or pot with drainage holes in the bottom
  • One garlic bulb (NZ grown)
  • Vegetable planting mix (with slow release fertiliser added)
  • Liquid fertiliser
  1. Separate your garlic bulb into cloves. Leave the papery skin on. Set aside the biggest cloves for planting (save the little ones to make garlic bread!).
  2. Fill your container with planting mix up to 5-10cm from the top and make it level.
  3. Sit your garlic gloves in the planting mix with their pointy ends facing upwards, and with about 10cm between each one. Then cover them over with 3-5cm of planting mix.
  4. Place your pot in a warm sunny spot and don’t forget to water during dry weather.
  5. Watch for the shoots to appear in spring and feed them as they grow.
  6. Your garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves start to turn yellow in summer. Dig one up to check that the cloves have formed and then tip the pot over to harvest your crop. (If you have grown you garlic in the garden soil, choose a dry sunny day to die them up using a garden fork.)
  7. Lay out your freshly dug garlic (tops and all) in an airy place to dry for a few weeks then rub off the dirt, trim the roots and cut the tops, leaving a small ’neck’ on each bulb. Store them in a cool dry place.


  1. Feed your garlic to encourage fat healthy growth. You can use liquid manure, sheep pellets, blood and bone, or worm tea from your worm farm.
  2. When planting garlic in the garden, clear the weeds and mix in compost before planting. Be sure to keep the weeds away while your garlic is growing.
  3. Add a handful of garden lime per square metre of soil or mix a tablespoon of lime into your potting mix.

How much garlic can you grow from just one bulb?

Weigh you garlic bulb before you start planting and then weigh your garlic crop after harvesting. How much money can you save when you grow your own healthy cloves?

Did you know?

  • Garlic can help fix a sore throat or cold. For thousands of years people have been using garlic as an ‘immune booster’ - to fight the bugs that make us sick.
  • It’s an old fashioned gardening tradition to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and dig it up on the longest day. But don’t worry if you don’t get the day exactly right - your garlic will still grow!
  • What’s that smell? Garlic contains allicin, which gives it that distinctive smell. What other plants might contain allicin?
  • Enemies beware! Garlic legendary as a weapon against vampires! Its also very effective against garden pests like aphids if you use it as a companion plant.
  • Some gardeners use garlic to make a bug spray. Watch out though - garlic spray will kill beneficial insects as well as pests.

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



Garlic cloves can be planted in a bowl

Garlic plants

Dried and stored garlic