Garlic grows best when bulbs are planted in the fall for harvest the following spring and summer. In warmer climates, softneck garlic varieties perform best, while hardnecks grow better in cooler areas. Garlic should be planted about 2 inches deep with the broader root side down.
Spacing the garlic depends on the variety being grown. While smaller garlic cultivars only require a few inches between bulbs, most varieties require about 8 inches, and the largest elephant garlics need up to a foot of space.
Mulching garlic beds prevents weeds from growing and protects the plants from extreme weather conditions, but it is not absolutely necessary. Garlic, like all plants, grows best in beds with well-drained, fertile soil and few weeds, if any.
In spring, garlic beds need regular weeding to prevent competition from pest plants. Garlic only requires watering in very dry conditions. If the soil is not dry at least 2 inches below the surface, watering can cause garlic bulbs to rot by providing an environment conducive to nematodes, bacteria and fungi.
Traditional wisdom demands removing garlic scapes whenever they appear to prevent small garlic bulbs at harvest time. In reality, scapes do not drain a large amount of energy from the garlic plant, and bulbs remain about the same size regardless of whether or not scapes are removed.