Can Garlic Go in Compost?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

If you’re wondering whether garlic can go in compost, the answer is yes! Here’s what you need to know about composting garlic and other kitchen scraps.

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If you’re a fan of garlic, you may be wondering if you can add garlic to your compost pile. The answer is yes, garlic can be composted. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when composting garlic.

Garlic is a member of the onion family, and like onions, it has a strong odor. When composting garlic, be sure to chop it up into small pieces so that the odor does not become overwhelming. You can also add other ingredients to your compost pile to help mask the garlic odor, such as leaves or grass clippings.

In addition, garlic may take longer to decompose than other organic matter. This is because garlic has a thick skin that needs to be broken down before the rest of the cloves can decompose. One way to speed up the decomposition process is to chop or crush the cloves before adding them to your compost pile.

If you follow these tips, you can successfully add garlic to your compost pile. Not only will you be able to reduce food waste, but you’ll also end up with nutrient-rich compost that will benefit your garden or landscaping.

What is garlic?

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the onion family and is related to chives, leeks, and shallots. It is a bulbous herb that is used as a seasoning in many foods. It is made up of multiple cloves that are encased in a thin, papery skin. When garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed, it releases a sulfur compound called allicin. Allicin is responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor and its many health benefits.

Nutrients in garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive,[2] and Chinese onion.[3] Garlic is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran,[2] and has long been a common seasoning worldwide. It was known to Ancient Egyptians,[4] and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine.[5]

Garlic is easy to grow and can be cultivated year-round in mild climates. It is propagated via cloves or seed. The cloves are usually planted in the fall (autumn) in cold areas with a 4–6 week growing season or spring in warm areas with a 2–3 week growing season. The cloves yield 70–200 seed garlics that are used for new plantings or eaten. Seed garlic is generally planted cloves that have sprouted and grown an shoots that are then harvested before they flower.

Can garlic go in compost?

Many people assume that because garlic is a food waste, it can be composted. However, there are a few things to consider before adding garlic to your compost pile.

Garlic is a member of the onion family and, like onions, it produces a sulfur compound that can be harmful to plants. This sulfur compound is released when the garlic is chopped or minced. It can also be released when the garlic decomposes. The sulfur compound can inhibit the growth of plants and leave them more susceptible to disease. For this reason, it’s best to compost garlic sparingly or not at all.

If you do decide to compost garlic, there are a few things you can do to limit the amount of sulfur released into the compost. First, chop the garlic cloves into large pieces. This will help to limit the release of sulfur compounds when the cloves decompose. Second, add other carbon-rich materials to your compost pile, such as leaves or straw. These materials will help to offset the sulfur released by the decomposing garlic cloves. Finally, be sure to turn your pile regularly so that thegarlic doesn’t have a chance to release too many sulfur compounds into the compost.

How to compost garlic

While you can compost garlic, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, garlic is a member of the allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and shallots. These vegetables produce sulfur compounds as they break down, which can stink up your compost bin. To avoid this, chop up your garlic cloves into small pieces before adding them to the bin. You can also add some extra carbon-rich materials, such as leaves or straw, to keep the smell in check.

Another thing to consider is that garlic (and other alliums) are tall plants. This means that their leaves and other plant parts will take longer to break down than smaller plants. If you’re concerned about this, you can chop up the garlic cloves even further before adding them to the bin. This will help speed up the decomposition process.

In general, it’s best to add a variety of different materials to your compost bin. This includes both green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Garlic falls into the green category, so be sure to add some brown materials as well to balance things out.


Yes, garlic can go in compost! Because it is a member of the allium family (along with onions, shallots, and leeks), garlic breaks down relatively easily in compost. If you’re worried about your compost attracting pests, however, you may want to avoid adding garlic to the mix.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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