Growing Guide: Garlic and Onions

Growing onions and garlic is both easy and rewarding, particularly since they can be grown during the winter months for harvest the following summer. Planting during the fall will produce the best flavor in your garlic and onions, so now is the right time to start growing. Since onions and garlic are in the same plant family, the guidelines for growing them are the same.

Selecting Varieties

Merrifield sells several varieties of garlic and onions. All of them are equally easy to grow, so you can pick the ones that you like best. Elephant garlic is related to leeks and has a larger bulb with milder flavor than other varieties. For onions, yellow onions will store better than white or red varieties, while the white and red varieties tend to be sweeter and better for use while fresh.


Onions and garlic develop during cool weather, so planting them during the fall will produce the largest and most flavorful bulbs. Plant them in a sunny location with 5-6 hours of direct sun per day. You can plant them in pots with the potting mix of your choice, or in the ground in soil amended with compost (Bumper Crop or Leafgro are good options) and fertilizer (Garden-tone is a good choice).

For Garlic

Divide the garlic head into individual cloves, and plant each clove 2 to 3 inches deep, spaced 4 to 6 inches apart.

For Onions

Onions can be grown from seeds, transplants or bulbs, but bulbs will be the easiest and most reliable choice. Like garlic, you will plant the bulbs 2 to 3 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart.

Growing and Harvesting

While your bulbs are growing, remove flower buds as they develop to encourage larger bulbs and prevent your plants from seeding. You will know that the bulbs are ready to harvest  when the leaf tips turn yellow and foliage flops over onto the ground.

To harvest both garlic and onions, dig the bulbs out of the ground, brush off the loose dirt and air dry them out of direct sun for two to three days. After the bulbs have dried, they can be stored in a cool, dark location at 50-55 degrees.