How to Grow Garlic in Alaska

Discover how to successfully grow garlic in Alaska's challenging climate, from planting to harvest, with expert tips and guidance.


6/15/20242 min read

brown wooden house near green trees and mountains during daytime
brown wooden house near green trees and mountains during daytime

In the challenging climate of Alaska, growing garlic can be both rewarding and tricky. With its short growing season and extreme temperatures, cultivating garlic requires careful planning and preparation. In this article, we'll explore the unique considerations for growing garlic in Alaska, from selecting the right varieties to timing your planting for optimal success. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice, these tips and tricks will help you grow robust and flavorful garlic in the Last Frontier.

Here's a summary of what you need to know:

  • Choose a hardneck variety for extra hardiness,

  • Plant before the frosts in September or October,

  • Use row covers to protect the growing bulbs,

  • Harvest in July or August once half the leaves are yellow.

Hungry for more? Let's get going.

Gardening in Alaska

Alaska's diverse geography encompasses various gardening zones, ranging from Zone 1 in the Arctic to Zone 8 in the southeast. Average temperatures vary widely, with colder regions experiencing subarctic and polar climates, while coastal areas have milder maritime climates. Weather patterns include long, harsh winters with freezing temperatures and short, cool summers. Extremes such as frost and snow can occur even in summer months, posing challenges to gardeners. Understanding your specific gardening zone and local climate conditions is crucial for successfully growing garlic in Alaska's unique environment.

Juneau and Anchorage, located in different regions of Alaska, experience distinct weather and soil conditions. Juneau's coastal climate brings milder temperatures and higher precipitation, while Anchorage encounters colder winters and drier conditions. Regardless, both areas benefit from using at-home soil testing kits to assess soil pH and nutrient levels, aiding in successful garlic cultivation.

When to Plant Garlic in Alaska

In Alaska, garlic planting time hinges on the winter season, typically bringing freezing unhospitable winters. To thrive, garlic requires a cold period for vernalization but Alaskan summers offer ample daylight hours for growth. This means planting in September or October, before the frosts. However, shorter growing seasons, coupled with unpredictable weather patterns and frost risk, pose additional challenges. Gardeners must use protective measures like row covers or raised beds to mitigate frost damage and optimize garlic yields in Alaska's unique growing conditions.

We strongly recommend planting a hardneck variety of garlic for growing in Alaska. With more hardiness compared to softneck garlic, choosing a hardneck variety gives you a better chance of success.

When to Harvest Garlic

Garlic in Alaska is typically ready for harvest in late July to early August, varying based on the specific region and weather conditions. Signs that garlic is ready to harvest include yellowing and drying leaves, with at least half of the plant's leaves turning yellow. Additionally, the bulbs should feel firm and well-formed. Harvesting garlic before the leaves completely dry out helps preserve bulb quality and prevent splitting. Given Alaska's short growing season, timing is critical, ensuring garlic is harvested promptly to maximize bulb size and flavor!


Can garlic grow in Alaska?

Yes, garlic can indeed grow in Alaska, although it requires some adaptation to the unique climate and growing conditions of the state. Choosing hardneck variety and harvesting early may help.

When to plant garlic in Alaska?

Garlic is typically planted in Alaska in the fall, ideally around mid to late September (notably earlier than most contiguous US states). This timing allows the cloves to establish roots before the ground freezes.

How to grow garlic in Alaska?

To grow garlic in Alaska, select a suitable planting site with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Plant hardneck cloves in the fall, mulch for winter protection, and provide adequate water during the growing season. Harvest garlic when the leaves turn yellow and begin to dry.