Growing garlic from cloves as companion plants is an absolute must for anyone trying to start a vegetable garden.
But garlic is also unbelievably good for our garden as it naturally:
- Repels pesky bugs e.g. aphids, caterpillars, beetles & more from vegetables, fruit & flowers and is a natural mosquito repellent.
- Attracts good bugs e.g. pollinating lacewings & ladybirds who help control aphids.
- Deters pests including deer, rabbits, mice, rats & moles.
- Protects soil from destructive nematodes and fungal disease.
And if you’re trying to garden even a little bit organically you can use your home grown garlic cloves to make cheap DIY:
- Organic Fungicide: for soil and all sorts of plants from roses and fruit trees to tomatoes and potatoes.
- Organic Pesticide: to spray anything from cabbages to roses that struggles with aphids.
So do include garlic in your spring planting list.
And to find out how to grow garlic as a companion plant have a read through this post which has a simple garlic companion planting chart PLUS everything you need to know about when and where to plant garlic, how to plant in pots and containers and how to harvest.
Do bookmark it or save it for quick reference and for more simple gardening tips check out my other grow your own posts.
Garlic Companion Planting Charts
Garlic can be squeezed into the edges of vegetable beds as a protective companion plant but if you are also growing it for the kitchen you can interplant it between the vegetables that grow well with garlic.
If you’re short on space, growing garlic in pots and containers will allow you to move the garlic around your garden to best protect different plants at different times of the year.
Plants That Grow Well With Garlic
Nightshades : garlic can help protect tomatoes, peppers & aubergine from blight, verticillium wilt and mould and repels spider mites.
Brassicas : garlic repels moths and their very hungry caterpillars including cabbage loopers and cabbage worms from cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts & kohlrabi. Garlic will also repel cabbage root fly maggots & whitefly.
Potatoes : garlic can help protect potatoes from late blight.
Spinach : garlic can protect spinach from aphids (although not from leaf miners) but garlic and spinach can also valuably be planted together as soil healers as they have complementary antimicrobial properties.
Fruit trees : planted beneath fruit trees, garlic can repel aphids & moths and it is believed fruit trees can use the sulphur from garlic to flight fungal diseases such as apple scab and peach leaf curl
Fruit : interplanted garlic can be very successful repelling spider mites from strawberries although some gardeners claim it reduces the size of strawberries.
Roses : garlic grown around roses can repel aphids and protect roses from blackspot fungi.
Herbs : garlic is mostly commonly used as a companion plant to help other plants but traditionally chamomile has been used to encourage bigger & more flavoursome garlic bulbs for the kitchen.
What Should Not Be Planted Near Garlic
Garlic really is a very beneficial companion plant all around the garden but the following few plants should not be planted near garlic as garlic and other alliums are believed to stunt their growth :
Some people also claim it should not be planted near parsley as it stunts growth. Other gardeners deny this and garlic is very useful for repelling the carrot fly from parsley so I do plant them together.
When To Plant Garlic
- The best time to plant garlic is the autumn or fall.
- But different garlic varieties e.g. Picardy Wight can now be planted right through until the end of April so do include on your spring planting list.
- If growing primarily as companion plant rather than kitchen crop you can plant it almost anytime as long as it stays moist.
How To Grow Garlic From Cloves
- Plant garlic with points upwards.
- Point should be an inch below soil.
- For the kitchen, plant 15 cm / 6 inches apart from each other.
- But as a companion plant to non-root vegetables, you can plant closer.
- Keep well watered until the bulbs are well formed.
- Then water more lightly to prevent rot.
- Cut flowers if you’re growing for the kitchen as these reduce bulb growth.
- Harvest garlic when leaves start to yellow.
Which Garlic Is Best To Grow
There are two main types of garlic to grow which do better in different climates at different times of the year, so which garlic is best go grow really depends on where you are and when you’re planting:
- Hardnecked garlic: typically bigger heads with fewer tastier cloves that do better in cold climates but don’t store as well. Hardnecked garlic flowers.
- Softnecked garlic : smaller heads of garlic with more cloves that will grow better in early spring and will store well. They don’t flower.
There’s a useful list here of the best garlic varieties to grow but I would really be driven by which variety will do best when you’re planting.
Planting Garlic In Pots & Containers
Garlic is very easy to grow in pots and containers and as mentioned, this is a very space efficient way to grow garlic as a companion plant as it means you can move the garlic around at different times of the growing season.
To plant garlic in pots & containers :
- Pick containers at least 15cm / 6 inches deep
- Plant cloves 4 inches apart
- Plant away from edge of pot so space for bulb to grow
- Choose smaller soft necked varieties for healthy growth in smaller pots and containers if you’re short on space.
How To Plant Garlic To Repel Bugs
Planting garlic in your vegetable garden can repel all sorts of bugs from gnats and spider mites to moths, beetles, aphids, ants and snails.
Garlic’s pungent smell repels bugs both because they don’t like it and it because it over powers the smell of the plants that they do like such as carrots and brassicas.
Planting garlic around the edge of the bed can work well to repel snails but interplanting rows or occasional garlic cloves amongst vegetables seems to have most impact.
If you’re gardening in a small space will little room for interplanting squeeze garlic around the edge of the bed and interplant with chives, another bug repellent companion plant from the allium family that takes up less room and attracts pollinators.
How To Plant Garlic To Deter Pests
Growing garlic can keep much bigger pests out of your vegetable garden and flowers. Rabbits, mice, rats, moles & deer all steer away from garlic.
Plant your garlic as an aromatic barrier fence at key entrance points to your garden where pests typically come in.
Typically hard necked garlic is stronger smelling than soft necked varieties so can better deter your hungry pests. Elephant garlic grows taller so can be a more effective barrier for larger pests.
You can also spray the DIY garlic pesticide around key entrance points as an additional deterrent.
Garlic Pesticide Spray
It’s very easy to make a garlic pesticide spray to repel bugs – and especially aphids and flies – from your vegetables and flowers including roses.
This DIY natural garlic spray is good as a weekly preventative spray to help repel the bugs. If you’ve already been hit by bugs make this garlic pesticide spray with as eco friendly as possible dishwashing soap that will get rid of the pests.
As the sprays are high in sulphur it’s best not to spray in high sun.
Garlic Fungicide Recipe
You can also use a basic garlic spray as a natural fungicide recipe to prevent and treat fungal disease such as black spot on roses and powdery mildew. Although remember not to use it on your peas as they don’t seem to like the sulphur.
And there you go, everything you need to know about growing garlic as a companion plant to protect your garden from pests organically and provide you with great health restoring flavour in the kitchen.
For more simple grow your own tips for beginners check out these posts:
- Organic Gardening Tips For Beginners
- Organic Weed Control
- Growing Vegetables For Beginners On A Budget
- Vegetables To Plant In Early Spring
- How To Grow Peas Successfully Organically
- How To Grow Spinach Tips
- Growing Turnip Greens & Cime Di Rapa
- Growing Vegetables From Scraps
- Quick Growing Vegetables
- How To Grow Raspberries In A Small Space