11 Garlic Fertilization Tips

Rising up with an Italian grandmother, I can’t think about residing in a culinary world the place garlic doesn’t exist. It’s a vital ingredient in among the most scrumptious dishes, and it has many great well being advantages along with its punchy and spicy taste. As a lot as people like to eat garlic, garlic additionally likes to eat. This implies we have to fertilize it.

Garlic is what we within the gardening world name a “heavy feeder.” It requires many vitamins to develop giant, flavorful bulbs of this zesty root.

Fertilizing your garlic vegetation can, and doubtless ought to, happen each earlier than and in the course of the planting and progress of your bulbs. We’ve nice tips about utilizing a few of these fertilizers to get your cloves began!


Garlic vegetation require varied feeding strategies and vitamins for optimum progress.

A shocking variety of strategies and substances can be utilized to feed garlic vegetation. I really like garlic, and garlic loves fertilizer, so right here we go to dig into how one can feed this heavy feeder and develop some plump, scrumptious bulbs for your self.

Remember that you solely want one or two of those fertilizer elements, and also you shouldn’t apply too many without delay. All the time comply with bundle directions and take care to not overfeed your crops.


A closeup of kelp, a powdered brown seaweed. It is scooped with a thin popsicle stick-shaped spoon-like metal material. The rest of the kelp powder sits on a dark surface.
Improve the rooting course of by soaking cloves in water, baking soda, and kelp fertilizer earlier than planting.

The primary place to work some fertilizer into your garlic planting routine is earlier than you ever contact the soil. Soaking your garlic cloves earlier than you plant them could assist the rooting course of, which implies they get established extra rapidly within the soil. The sooner a clove establishes roots, the higher its probability of surviving and turning into a plump bulb of scrumptious garlic.

Whereas this system shouldn’t be required, it may be useful if you wish to add it to your course of!

Including a couple of elements into the water if you soak garlic will assist to offer it that further push towards a wholesome begin:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Kelp fertilizer (1-2 tbsp. of liquid kelp or 1/2 cup of dry kelp meal, relying on bundle suggestions)

Soak your cloves in a single day within the answer the evening earlier than planting. Don’t depart them too lengthy, otherwise you danger rotting your cloves. Soaking for the proper window of 8-12 hours will truly assist shield them from fungal illnesses. Keep away from soaking for a lot over 12 hours.

After eradicating them from the fertilizer answer, give your cloves an alcohol or peroxide rinse to kill any mites lurking beneath or on the floor. It additionally eliminates mite eggs, which may overwinter in your cloves, hatching within the spring and making a multitude of issues.

Neem Cake

A close-up of neem cake, a brown granular substance, resembling crushed dried seeds and kernels. It has some streaks in texture and white to orange spots from the mix of organic matter.
Enhance yields and environmental sustainability in your backyard by making ready your soil for planting with neem cake.

To prep your mattress for planting, make it possible for there’s an ample quantity of vitamins within the soil. There are a couple of gadgets you could add to your soil earlier than planting to offer your garlic a powerful probability of rooting and thriving by means of the winter.

One among these things is neem cake. Neem cake is a byproduct of manufacturing neem oil and is an glorious supply of slow-release vitamins. It additionally acts as a deterrent for pests and aids within the breakdown of vitamins in different added fertilizers.

Neem cake can improve yields by as much as 25% and enhance the soil’s fertility stage. Elevated yields, fewer pests, and it’s environmentally pleasant as nicely; neem cake is a good product you could be ok with utilizing within the backyard,


A pair of hands manhandle compost in a lime-green vermicomposter. The compost appears dark, and damp but crumbly and is typically earthy-smelling due to the organic matter. The soil-like substance looks rich with a well-aerated texture, and reddish to brownish earthworms are visible in the vermiculture.
Incorporating compost into soil promotes wholesome root growth.

Including compost to your beds serves multiple objective and results in vegetation with robust roots and a sustained launch of vitamins within the soil over a protracted interval. Mixing compost into your soil helps to loosen the soil and is especially necessary in case your soil kind compacts simply, like clay.

Garlic likes free soil, particularly as a result of it helps with wholesome root growth. Because the portion we need to harvest is the roots, we need to give these roots the most effective atmosphere to kind inside.

Compost additionally breaks down slowly over time, permitting for a slower, extra regular launch of vitamins over a typical liquid or granular fertilizer. Consider compost as a long-term technique of enriching your soil. You can also make this soil conditioner at residence, too!

Composting meals scraps and yard trimmings is an effective way to repurpose gadgets that might in any other case go to waste. Simply preserve your compost pile aerated and keep a correct stability of browns (carbon-rich supplies like leaves and straw) to greens (nitrogen-rich supplies like grass clippings and veggie waste).

Aged Manure

gardener shovels manure out of a wheelbarrow to cover an in-ground garden bed.
Manure is a helpful, nutrient-rich fertilizer that gives important nitrogen and phosphorus.

As a rooster keeper, I do know the wonderful worth of manure as a fertilizing agent. Not solely is manure an ideal supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and different helpful vitamins, however additionally it is good for the atmosphere.

From a sustainability perspective, utilizing manure as fertilizer helps cut back water air pollution from runoff. It additionally improves the soil construction, resulting in much less runoff and, most significantly, much less erosion.

Including manure to your soil earlier than planting has an identical impact to compost. It helps to loosen the soil, making it extra hospitable for garlic roots, and presents a extra long-term nutrient supply system. But it surely’s greatest to age or compost your manure prematurely as a substitute of including uncooked animal poop to the soil.

Alfalfa Meal

A close-up of vibrant alfalfa green granules. It is shaped like tiny cylinders with yellowish streaks in texture.
This can be a nutrient-rich natural fertilizer that enhances the soil.

Alfalfa meal is a nice natural fertilizer so as to add to your soil to situation it for planting garlic. It contributes a wholesome quantity of nitrogen to the soil and a fatty acid referred to as triacontanol, which acts as a progress stimulant.

Along with its nutrient profile, alfalfa meal may also enhance the feel and composition of your soil, making it extra hospitable to root growth, which is our primary objective in rising garlic. Including this pure fertilizer may also assist fight weeds, making it an all-around gardening gem.

Blood Meal

Blood meal is held in one white-gloved hand. This dried, powdery substance, derived from animal blood, is in a garden with various green plants and leaves, alongside yellow blooming flowers.
This high-nitrogen pure fertilizer helps preliminary progress.

Blood meal is a dried powder derived from animal blood. It’s a pure fertilizer with a really excessive nitrogen content material. When garlic cloves germinate, they want some further nitrogen to jumpstart photosynthesis. Combine blood meal immediately into your soil or dilute it with water and pour from a watering can.

Nonetheless, use blood meal solely within the preliminary levels of garlic progress, as extra nitrogen will result in speedy leaf formation. This could inhibit the formation of the roots and bulbs, so whereas it’s a nice soil modification if you first plant your garlic, swap it out for bone meal after your cloves sprout.


A pair of hands handle compost in a lime-green vermicomposter. The compost appears dark, and damp but crumbly and is typically earthy-smelling due to the organic matter. The soil-like substance looks rich with a well-aerated texture, and reddish to brownish earthworms are visible in the vermiculture.
Incorporating worm castings from vermicomposting enriches soil.

Also called worm castings or worm manure, vermicompost is a balanced, slow-release supply of fertility and soil-nourishing natural matter. Worm composting is an easy and efficient approach to make compost at residence with a vermicompost bin or worm bag. It takes up little or no area and produces high-quality compost. Alternatively, you should purchase worm castings which might be prepared so as to add to your backyard.

Many species of epigeic worms (like Eisenia fetida, also referred to as crimson wigglers) can break down natural supplies like meals scraps, shredded newspaper, and manure. If you permit your compost elements to go by means of the microbially-rich intestine of worms first, the vitamins turn into extra out there to your vegetation. The worm castings additionally act as meals and a house for useful microbes that assist vegetation uptake their vitamins.

I wouldn’t rely solely on vermicompost as your solely type of fertilizer because it varies extensively in dietary advantages, however it’s a nice micronutrient increase and a supply of useful microbes to your garlic beds.

Bone Meal

Top close-up view of bone meal: a fine, tan-colored powder with a texture resembling finely ground grains or sand, stored in an open-lid glass jar. The jar is placed on a wooden table made with medium-sized planks, showing signs of a hole, rusted metal screws, and spacers.
Use bone meal after sprouting to stability out nitrogen and promote robust bulb formation.

Bone meal, created from floor animal bones, is a superb supply of phosphorus, one of the important vitamins in garlic progress. Phosphorus helps to strengthen the cell partitions and assists the bulbs in storing power for progress.

Phosphorus can be instrumental in root growth, which we all know is essential to rising giant, wholesome bulbs. Most soil accommodates an quantity of phosphorus, and this macronutrient can be in most industrial fertilizers.

Including phosphorus within the type of bone meal additionally helps to stability out excessive nitrogen within the soil after the garlic bulbs have sprouted. Extra nitrogen will increase the inexperienced progress of leaves above the bottom, leaving much less power for the a part of the garlic we need. It additionally decreases the storage lifetime of your bulbs.

Use bone meal as a soil modification earlier than or after planting. To make use of it after planting, sprinkle some on prime of the soil or add it to different fertilizers to reap the advantages.

Fish Meal

A worker wearing green gloves holds a fertilizer of fish meal in their hand. The fish meal is a fine, dry, light brown powder, with a texture resembling finely ground grains or flour. It is scattered onto the soil around a plant with healthy green foliage.
Fish meal is a phosphorus and calcium-rich natural fertilizer that fortifies the vegetation and improves bulb formation.

One other natural animal byproduct that can be utilized to fertilize your garlic is fish meal. Fish meal is a powder that may be a byproduct of fish oil extraction. It may be bought as a powder, pressed into truffles, or diluted right into a liquid method referred to as fish emulsion.

Fish meal, like bone meal, is a phosphorus-heavy hitter. It additionally accommodates loads of calcium, which strengthens the cell partitions of vegetation. This fortifies your younger garlic bulbs, making them extra sturdy and tolerant of frost and different damaging situations. It additionally creates handsome bulbs of garlic which might be well-formed.

Utilizing a granular fish meal will give your garlic vegetation a long-lasting, sustained launch of those necessary vitamins. Merely work some powdered fish meal into the highest few inches of your soil. Fish meal takes longer to interrupt down than liquid fish emulsions, which is able to ship a right away increase.


Crushed homemade layer eggshells rest in a pair of hands. The broken eggshells display beige and white colors.
Eggshells are a helpful pure fertilizer when dried, crushed, and added to the soil.

Talking of calcium and its function within the growth of cell partitions, it gained’t come as a shock that eggshells are loaded with calcium. In case you elevate chickens or similar to to eat eggs, saving your eggshells to your vegetation is a improbable use of one thing that would in any other case find yourself within the trash.

To make use of your eggshells for fertilizer, permit them to dry out. You’ll be able to expose your eggshells to the air, which is able to work fairly nicely, or you may dehydrate them in a heat oven. Heating them could destroy any micro organism current.

As soon as dry, crush your eggshells right into a positive powder and dig small trenches in your soil between bulbs. Sprinkle them into the trenches, after which cowl them again over. Keep away from including uncooked eggshells straight to the backyard, as this might entice rodents and different pests.

One factor to pay attention to is that eggshells can take fairly some time to interrupt down, even when powdered, as they aren’t natural matter — strictly talking, these are mineral components as they’re nearly pure calcium carbonate. Folks with alkaline soil could not see outcomes for as much as a 12 months or extra as their soil lacks the pure acidity that causes the eggshells to launch their calcium right into a soluble kind. Nonetheless, alkaline soil usually has an abundance of calcium already and doesn’t want the eggshells!

Full Fertilizers

A close-up view of soil fertilization: NPK concentrated bulb fertilizer held in one hand wearing a textured, blue garden glove. The soil is dark brown, and the fertilizer consists of white, coarse granules.
Select full fertilizers with specified N-P-Okay ratios.

Lastly, let’s speak about what kind of full fertilizer you need to use to offer your garlic the most effective diet from begin to end. These are the fertilizers you’ll buy from retailers with particular ratios of macro- and micronutrients.

These fertilizers will usually be labeled with a collection of three numbers, separated by hyphens, which symbolize the ratio of nitrogen (N) – phosphorus (P) – and potassium (Okay) which might be contained within the soil.

Initially, earlier than your garlic has sprouted leaves, a excessive nitrogen fertilizer is greatest to offer your cloves a powerful begin. A method of 16-6-4 NPK fertilizer will vastly profit your early garlic progress.

As soon as your garlic sprouts, it would be best to cut back the quantity of nitrogen within the soil and add extra phosphorus and potassium. As soon as your cloves present progress on prime of the soil, switching to a method of 5-10-10 is the most effective factor to maintain these bulbs rising robustly. Fertilize as much as each two weeks throughout its rising season.

Ultimate Ideas

There are numerous nice methods to repurpose family castoffs to fertilize your garlic crop. As well as, a number of natural strategies work nicely for optimum yield. Industrial fertilizers may also be very efficient and are a handy means to ship vitamins rapidly when your vegetation want them most.

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