Today we will be evaluating our experience growing German Extra Hardy garlic (hardneck). This garlic, according to seed distributors, produces large garlic heads, and can also tolerate the cold of winter. We selected this garlic variety for its ability to tolerate the low temperatures of USDA zone 6. This is the first time we plant garlic, and we wanted to start with a seed that requires little maintenance.

This seed was obtained from Johnny's Seeds and is originally from Germany. This variety can tolerate low temperatures, excellent to withstand temperature fluctuations in late winter and early spring. Our garden is located in USDA zone 6, and we managed to grow garlic without any problems. This variety is known as hardneck, which needs to go through a cold process before sprouting and is the reason why it must be planted in November, during, or after the first frost. This garlic has an intense flavor and can be kept fresh for months after being harvested.

German Hardneck Garlic

Growing Details

The garlic cloves were planted directly on the ground around the middle of November last year, under full sun, accompanied by Egyptian onions and bunching onions. The soil composition was mostly clay amended with compost and other unique, organic material to improve drainage. They were never watered, and mother nature took control. The plants began sprouting during the first week of March, and by the end of the week, some of the plants were already approximately 2 inches tall, while others scarcely sprung up.

By the beginning of June, all the plants had already developed scrapes. The scrapes were removed, preventing the plant from using its energy for flowering, but to continuing the garlic head maturity.

German Hardneck Garlic

Pests and Diseases

Fortunately during the 2019 season we did not find any disease or pest affecting this variety of garlic.


The garlic heads were harvested during mid-June and will go through a curing phase that will last about one month. This phase is necessary for preserving the garlic for up to a year.

You must first distinguish the type of garlic before attempting a harvest. There is one type of garlic known as softneck, and a different type known as hardneck. To reap the softneck garlic, you must wait for the plant's stem to bend. The plant will look as if it is falling. To harvest hardneck garlic, you must wait until the primary and secondary leaves begin to turn brown.

Check the garlic head thickness by loosening the soil around the plant. Never wait for too long to remove the garlic from the ground. Waiting for too long will make the garlic cloves to separate from each other, making it difficult for preserving. Harvest the garlic when the soil is dry enough. Use a tool for digging around the garlic. Never pull the plant without digging. Do not cut the garlic immediately from the plant unless you are going to use the garlic at the moment.

German Hardneck Garlic

Lessons Learned

The seeds must be planted during the month of November in USDA zone 6, sowing them in late winter or early spring does not give enough time for the garlic head to develop. A quantity of approximately 15 garlic heads per family member is recommended for one year.

Fast Facts

Date Seed Planted Outside:Nov. 15th
Date Seed Sprouted Outside:Mar. 7th
Date Secondary Leaves Appeared:Mar. 15th
Date of Perceived Maturity:Jun. 7th
Date Harvested:Jun. 15th
Date Curation Period Started:Jun. 21st
Date Ready for Consumption:Jul. 21st