Types of Garlic and How to Pick the Right Kind of Garlic

While garlic seasons different meat and vegetable dishes, and people may believe it is an herb, garlic is classified botanically as a vegetable. It is in the same family as onions, with close relations to shallots, chives, and leeks. 

Getting the right garlic seeds

Before growing garlic in your garden, let’s learn how to pick the right garlic seeds. You can use Grow Organic seeds for a longer-lasting crop and reduce the pesticides used when tending to it. 

What are the types of garlic?

Garlic comes in hard-neck and soft-neck varieties. Hardneck garlic can be grown in colder climates, but they last a shorter time in storage compared to soft-neck garlic. Alternatively, soft-neck garlic can grow in warmer environments with the perk of longer shelf life. 

Consider a hard-neck variety if you want to plant your garlic in an outdoor garden. The most popular hard-neck species are:

  • Red Chesnok garlic
  • Northern white garlic
  • Porcelain hard-neck
  • Musik garlic

While you can grow hard-neck garlic indoors, you have the option to grow soft-neck varieties since they will be in a warmer environment. Soft-neck garlic types include:

  • Silverskin 
  • Artichoke
  • Middle Eastern

Despite its name, elephant garlic is not garlic: it’s a leek in the ampeloprasum species. That is not the same species as garlic which is Allium sativum. 

Can I grow garlic indoors or outdoors?

Garlic can be grown in the ground outside, or you can raise it in a window garden bed or any place in sunlight throughout your home. Indoor gardening would be the most convenient way to grow the small amount of garlic you need for cooking. Plus, it can protect the garlic from frosty fall weather conditions that can come from planting it outside. 

If you choose to plant garlic in an outdoor garden, do so between September to November before the first day of weather under 32 degrees occurs, otherwise known as the first frost. Subzero temperatures can damage the crop, so taking care to plant and grow the garlic at least six weeks before the first frost is known as best practice. 

How to plant garlic outdoors

Garlic thrives off of loose soil with plentiful organic matter. Adding compost from your local gardening center can increase the organic matter in the soil to enhance the growing quality of your garlic.

Start by taking garlic cloves and separating them. Put them into kelp oil and have them soak overnight. The kelp oil acts as an antiseptic to kill off the current microbes dwelling on the garlic. 

The day that you’re ready to plant your garlic, soak them for no more than 10 minutes in some vodka. Place the cloves in a colander to drain for at least 5-10 minutes. 

Finally, plant the garlic cloves six inches apart in the soil. Do so within one hour after the second soak with vodka. 

Which garlic type is healthier?

Out of all the types of garlic, hard-neck varieties are more flavorful and healthier for you than soft-neck garlic. Hardneck garlic has three times more allicin in it than its soft-neck cousin. This sulfur compound gives garlic antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties that help to combat sickness and disease.


No matter the type of garlic you decide to grow, we hope this quick guide has helped you to get started planting it. We hope you can get the green thumb that you need to have delicious garlic for your pantry for months to come to season pizza, pasta, sausage, and many other tasty dishes. 

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