Garlic Production

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In Ontario, garlic, a cool-season crop, is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. This Factsheet provides information on the types of garlic grown in Ontario, garlic production from planting to storage, and pest control and weed management.

Garlic (Allium sativum) belongs to the Alliaceae family, the same family as onions, shallots and leeks. The majority of Ontario-grown garlic is sold to the fresh market as whole, fresh bulbs, green garlic or scapes. Processed products such as garlic spreads or chopped garlic are also sold, but to a lesser extent.

Garlic is a perennial plant that requires a cold period to initiate growth. In Ontario, garlic is grown as a winter annual — planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. Although fall planting is recommended, it is possible to plant in the spring. Place planting stock in cold storage prior to planting to allow proper bulb development.

It is critical that garlic not be planted too early or too late in the fall. Planting depth is also important. If planted too early or not deep enough, there is a risk that shoots will emerge above the soil surface and be prone to winter injury. If planted too late, there is a risk that cloves will not develop adequate root systems and will not be winter hardy. It is also important that cloves are planted with the pointed side up. Although cloves planted upside down will develop, they often have a curved shoot and misshapen bulbs.

Jennifer Allen
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs