Defeating the Zombie Hordes (With Garlic)


Ever since Plants VS. Zombies came out a few years ago, I’ve been increasingly aware of the effects of the zombie scourge on our landscapes. I mean, you could be enjoying a peaceful afternoon sunning yourself in the garden, and all of a sudden,  you hear the ominous sounds of the slavering undead coming closer. While they’re not terribly fast, they can be hard to deter. Bullets go right through them, and while baseball bats can be effective, who wants to get that close? Zombies don’t smell very good.

Thank goodness for garlic. While we think of garlic as repelling vampires, it actually does a pretty poor job of that, a fact which True Blood fanatics will be aware of. Where our allium-licious bulbs shine however, is with zombies. You’d think the aura of dust and decay surrounding zombies would make them oblivious to the scent and flavor of garlic, but there you’d be wrong. Zombies are fascinated by garlic and feel compelled to taste it, and are then overcome with disgust and move on to the next garden.

An example of zombie-repelling landscape design (photo from PCGamer magazine):


So plant garlic around the periphery of your landscape, and give some to your nicest friends, family and neighbors. The zombies will move from garden to garden, sampling the fragrant bulbs, saying “blech!”, and moving to the next garlic patch until they come to an undefended parcel of land with no garlic defense system in place.

This may belong to the nasty character down the street who gives out raisins at Halloween (not even the chocolate-covered kind), or the jerk who drives his noisy homemade scooter up and down the street at breakneck speeds, thinking that all the commotion and smoke belching out the back makes him more attractive to the ladies (as if). I’m not saying we want them to be eaten by the zombies, just that if we only have so much garlic to go around, let’s share it with the people who give out homemade Christmas cookies and have nice cats and call us “dear”.

Anyway, with the zombie scourge in full effect, it may be difficult to find ample supplies of quality garlic. And you don’t want to stick with just one kind, either – zombies have surprisingly complex palates and may develop resistance to garlic if we all plant the same type.

That’s where Peaceful Valley comes in. This company has loads of seed garlic all ready to plant, plus tips on how to grow it successfully, choose the best varieties, etc. The best part? Peaceful Valley’s an organic company, so if you are able to eat some of your garlic before the zombies ravage it, you can be happy knowing that cancer won’t get you before the zombies do. (I know, I’m a big bundle of cheer!)

Disclosure: Peaceful Valley sent me some free garlic to write this post, but I think that’s just because their marketing director Charlotte likes me and doesn’t want to see me fall prey to the dusty undead. All opinions about zombies are my own.


  1. Sarah says

    If a zombie wears gloves, can it still plant garlic? Because I can imagine a use for the untiring undead weeding the fall garden and then, hey! since it’s being so helpful, how about planting some garlic as well??

  2. says

    I failed to start any overwintering broccoli or cauliflower this year (the cauliflower distracts the zombies because it looks like brains), so I have lots of room for garlic in my veggie beds.

  3. Konnie says

    Just found your blog…. I had been reading up on planting garlic since mine died in the spring…. excellent site and giveaway…..

  4. Bridget says

    Garlic is also great for keeping out plenty of other pests too–planting around fruit trees and squashes will keep the bugs away!

  5. Creg says

    LOL! I love it! Zombies beware! Thank you for the giveaway. I’ve only tried garlic once and didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I will do much better my next try.

  6. says

    I’m in! I love garlic, and for some unknown reason I have never grown it – go figure. And to think, back in my day, all we had to worry about digging in our gardens were werewolves!

  7. Troy R. says

    this is my first season growing garlic, so these’d make a LOVELY addition! cant wait to get these cloves in the ground as soon as this RAIN lets up!

  8. JD mathews says

    Funny post. I’m looking forward to growing garlic and now super excited about being able to repel those pesky zombies. I really like your lawn free living article. A lot of good ideas,

  9. Joy Giles says

    Am willing and able to do another bed in garlic. Had one two years ago with fairly good success. Don’t know what type I planted though.

  10. mike cole says

    Always planted an unknown hardneck, had to move to the city but am back in the country starting my gardens from scratch.

  11. Barbara C. says

    Love it, use it and want to grow some this winter! But I can see that I know woefully little about all the different varieties available. Looking forward to learning more.

  12. dheckert (Scholar's Garden) says

    Lots of zombies here in Brooklyn! I had better plant some of that wonderful garlic fast! Actually, it grows really nicely in my allotment garden, and I love to try new varieties!

  13. Mary Ella says

    I just left my garden of 20-plus years and am starting all over again in a new space. I can’t think of anything more important to include in my new garden than plenty of garlic. Thanks for the opportunity to do that.

  14. Heli says

    I’ve grown garlic for some years and last week I wanted to start planting garlic, I realized they almost all rotten inside. It`s Probably too moist this year in my storage room. I grow some local Estonian variety mixture of different varieties. I`m really disappointed!

  15. michelle says

    Can’t wait to start my first bed of garlic…this would be a great start!!! So happy to have found your blog, through this fantastic giveaway!!! Thanks for happy reading!!!

  16. Iris says

    thanks for the chance to have another way to survive the zombie apocalypse… yay…!! now if I can just figure out how to attract the vampires and entice them to stay… 😉

  17. Cindy Freeman says

    I LOVE GARLIC because it is nutritional as well as medicinal. Right now I have some garlic cloves sitting in a pint jar of honey infusing…waiting to be used for a cold/flu remedy. I need to grow my own so would love to win some! (c:

  18. Barbara says

    Garlic is such a wonderful food source. I toss it in almost everything I cook. My family uses and grows the hard-neck garlic mostly. I love using the flower twists in cooking as well. I am going to try making a immune boosting recipe I found last year as the flu season has blossomed here in Wisconsin. If I find it successful and palatable I’ll post it here!

  19. says

    Homegrown garlic is the best–but I don’t want to share with zombies. Oh wait, if I win, then I’ll have plenty to fend them off. Crossing fingers and toes…

    Actually, I always grow garlic, love it too much–our house smells like an Italian prep kitchen. Sometimes, I forget how much garlic we consume, and then I realize it at awkward moments, like Meet the Teacher night. Not everyone eats as much garlic as we do. Poor them.

    Thanks for hosting a great giveaway! Cheers!

  20. Azucena says

    Never heard of your blog until the contest. I’m hooked to reading your blog alongside Gardenerd. Garlic, I love garlic! Please send some my way, please.

  21. says

    Thanks so much for the tip that the Russian Red variety does well in the PNW. I will have to look for some (unless I’m lucky enough to win, of course!).

  22. sara says

    i really like the russian red garlic. i’ve been eating it all summer. being able to grow it my self may be a good option! i tried garlic once before and it did not create new bulbs. i think the dirt was to compacted, so i’ll fluff up my dirt this time around.

  23. Bonnie says

    I don’t have any garlic at all. Would like to start growing some. They are very good for your health. Would love to have some to grow. Thanks

  24. Lisa Cox says

    I’ve never tried to grow garlic. We just recently moved to 3 acres in Missouri from a city lot in Texas. I want a garden and would love to start with garlic.
    Thank you!

  25. Grace says

    I’ve been using garlic for more years than I’d like to admit. I use garlic in my homemade spaghetti sauce,meatloaf, spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and hot pepper flakes, the list goes on. Went to the garlic festival in Co Spgs a few weeks ago and got my garlic there, 3 different varieties. This year is my 1st time to grow my own garlic. I planted last weekend (hope it’s not to soon). Can you tell I am excited. Any growing tips?

  26. Tara says

    Not only will the garlic help ward off unwanted zombies and vampires, but it will help with unwanted germs. Working hard in my garden to be more self sufficient. Have a new bed just for planting garlic, so winning would be awesome!

  27. Maureen says

    I play plants vs. zombies all the time. I am up to level 33 in vasebreaker. I need this garlic to get me off the computer and in some fresh(ish) air!

  28. Jill Patterson says

    After reading Married with Zombies, I know I need to be prepared! This will definitely help and I’m really interested in the garlic twist gadget. I’ve tried lots of garlic presses and my favorite is a type of garlic grater that works the best of anything I’ve ever tried. And would really love to try growing garlic in containers….the better to keep out the zombie animals that eat everything else.

  29. Christine Allen says

    I’ve planted my garlic and my 3 year old son just dug a bunch of it back up… Think the zombies have some mind-control power vs. the malleable mind?

  30. ess says

    I have really enjoyed growing garlic for a few years now. I don’t have much ground, and I am concerned about crop rotation. Should garlic be rotated like other veggies?

  31. contentedgardner says

    Oh silly zombies. Good thing they don’t know the wonders of minced garlic olive oil and fresh greens from the garden, Yumm.

  32. Dana Morgan says

    I wondered why Halloween is the best night for planting garlic. At least, that’s when I try to time it in Los Angeles.

  33. says

    Why oh why did I wait all these years to plant garlic? It is one of the absolutely easiest crops to successfully grow, and what a joy to cook with garlic you grew! This will be my 3rd year planting garlic, and this year I will be planting garlic I grew, not purchased! Woohoo!
    Maybe next year I will pick at the optimum time instead of a little late.

  34. mary louis says

    Can zombies read? I can give them directions to some tasty humans I’d love to have them munch. As for us here, we’ve got out garlic planted but I may need more!

  35. Marla says

    My garlic is all Italian — we could use an infusion of diversity out here!

    Thanks for the entertaining and informative blog.

  36. Mohican says

    Glad I came across you Gen (as you call yourself) because I was just telling my conifer customer at work (I work at a retail garden center in Santa Cruz) about your Pinterest board and I think we bonded (me and this guy) over the Goth Garden concept. I am now wondering just how much you really hate zombies?? I mean their kinda goth right?
    So anyway I love anything black myself, and was most taken by a black wall and how that works with the Humboldt Bay light (I was a landscaper in Arcata for 5 yrs. about 5 yrs. ago) or lack of. The black wall made the best of the existing light and I am going to try this at the first opportunity to design. I am going over to Pinterst now and taking another look at your page!

  37. Carol says

    I grew up in New England, where we did not eat garlic, at least in my family. Having just read an article about 19th century vampire scares in Smithsonian magazine, I can see that there may be some connection … no garlic, more vampires?

  38. Juanita says

    I few years ago I used up my prescription medicine allowance by August. (that famous doughnut hole in insurance policies that the politicians talk about now. I was pretty sick that year.) I had to choose which medicines I could afford to continue to take and which ones I would have to give up. My Lipator was too expensive… way over $100/month back then. I talked to my pharmacist and he recommended garlic oil and flaxseed oil everyday. (Mind you, he was not advocating that I stop taking any of my prescriptions, it was just that I could not afford to buy them all.) It worked. My lab results after 3 months on garlic and flaxseed showed that my cholesterol did not go up, it continued to go down. My doctor was amazed. When I passed that “doughnut” period of time and my insurance again covered my meds, I did not resume the cholesterol medicine.

    Now I eat 2 cloves of garlic a day, either raw or added at the very last minute to my food so I don’t cook out the goodness. I also feed my husband 2 cloves a day. My cholesterol level is good for a woman of my age. I tell other seniors about this whenever they talk about their medicines. I am always running out of garlic.

  39. Barb says

    I was just telling a gardening friend that she could plant garlic all around her flower beds. Good to know I was Zombie-proofing her. Any idea of Russian Red’s success here on the Left Coast?

  40. Jennie B says

    I have read that planting garlic among other plants helps keep pests away. Just one of the reasons I’d like to try raising garlic. Thank you!

  41. Jodell says

    This is my first year growing hardneck. But what I love about hardnecks is that there is so much range of taste and temperature. I can eat raw Italian Purple garlic and crush the cloves in between my molars and get all the Vitamin C, B6 and minerals like Calcium, Phosperous, Selenium and Manganese. Then, I can use a hot hardneck for something I can cook. I like to throw garlic into fried rice with eggs, spaghetti basil and olive oil, cream of wheat after I cook it I add some butter with garlic while still on the stove. I mean, I like to barely heat up the garlic so that it is strong and does not lose taste so I throw it into pot or pan for a few minutes. I also like to heat up olive oil or butter and salt and throw several cloves into a pot and heat up the cloves for awhile. They get nice and sweet so you can pop them into your mouth like a carmelized garlic candy. Unless I am eating garlic raw, I typically add salt with my garlic.
    Last year I grew CA White and Polish White softnecks. This year, I am trying Italian Purple and Russian Red. Eating the Italian Purple really helps replace the urge to get a piece of candy in my mouth. It is a really fun munchie.

  42. says

    I’m four years into growing garlic in the desert and I’ve got to say it’s great to grow here. I’m in charge of a school garden and it’s wonderful teaching the kids how cool garlic is. So far I’ve tried to California Early White and Music. I’m especially pleased with the flavor of Music. I want to try the Russian, so I’m hopeful I win. Thanks for this great chance to try new things, what fun!

  43. Ron says

    I don’t know about Zombies but if squirrels are problem for you like they are for me try this easy trick. After planting your garlic in the fall cover the ground with chicken wire. Remove the chicken wire in the spring before too much above ground growth starts back up. Since the garlic has some root growth by the spring less garlic is dug out by the over eager digging machines.

  44. Lethea B says

    I have been researching and trying to learn about growing garlic for my family & stumbled on this post and giveaway=D I would so love a chance to win this great package but even if I don’t I’m glad to have the info from your post!
    Thanks bunches=)

  45. Billie Allemand says

    I am intrigued by growing garlic, and love to use my own home grown. This year whatever I planted did not do so well — looked and smelled like garlic (growing) but never got any curl on the top with bulblets in them, nor when I dug them this fall, were the bottoms like garlic cloves, rather like a green onion shape. But — they definitely smelled like garlic! Anyone know or can guess the reasons for this?

  46. Chris Daniel says

    If the zombies come early before the heads have formed, you can grab some scapes from the hardneck variety of garlic and try to slow them down – without compromising the crop!

  47. Dawson says

    As an eight year old gardener, I will make a garlic braid and defeat that zombie. I’ve grown some garlic and it’s easy to do. In our large family, we eat a lot of garlic. I hope to win.

  48. Deborah says

    Garlic has powerful antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties so it must be effective on zombies. I can dig it!

  49. says

    My garden (including the garlic) was pretty much a bust this year, but the good news is that it gave me the motivation to work on improving my soil and rethinking some of the garden set up…. and now I know I should have garlic everywhere to prevent the zombies! Maybe that was my problem……

  50. says

    Here in Louisiana, we grow a softneck creole variety that I originally bought from a local farmer at the Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge. We have saved “seed” from this variety each year for going on five years now. We typically plant 600-800 ft of garlic each year for out CSA. This past year, we had an abundance of very large (golf ball to tennis ball) sized undifferentiated bulbs that will be planted by the end of October. I expect that these will make huge bulbs once they have another growing season to expand and differenitate into toes. Visit our CSA blog site at to see what is going on down south.

  51. Kelly Kaiserian says

    I am getting ready to plant a “garlic sampler” to give away to friends next year. The more varieties, the better. Thanks for participating in this give-away. Love your blog! Also, love Plants vs Zombies!

  52. Mary says

    Zombies and garlic! Who’d’ve thought? Since my three daughters were in a zombie video this past summer, I am thinking I need protection.

  53. Susan says

    It’s garlic planting time again. Some new varieties would be fun to try! I need a variety that the gophers don’t like!

  54. Holly Greenwood says

    Thanks for the fun post. My second year planting garlic for my gardening clients. Every time I think something is simple, straightforward, obvious, I learn so much I hadn’t known before. This time my lesson was about garlic’s need for full sun (not shade tolerant like onions).

  55. HappyJack Harvest, llc says

    We grew about 480 row feet of garlic last year, we put it on the down wind side of our high tunnel hoping that it would be somewhat protected from the wind. What we didn’t expect was that the eddys were more powerful at scouring the dirt than the straight wind.
    The result was that we replanted the three hard neck varieties we had several times. we usually found two neat piles, one near each end of the high tunnel, so when we replanted we had no idea which variety was where.
    The end result -over 70 pounds of wonderful garlic with the added pleasure of not knowing what to expect in flavor from any single bulb!

  56. says

    I want to repel zombies too! =) Never heard of that game, but it sounds funny. Russian red is a variety I definitely want to try. Thanks for offering this amazing giveaway.

  57. david hernick says

    Red Russian was a good performer for me in Napa a couple years ago. Hope fully we a good weather this year and good rain.

  58. Heather says

    LOVED the article. My kids keep telling me we need to prepare for the zombie apocolypse. Haven’t planted garlic in a few years, but now we are very motivated. Thanks!

  59. Chris says

    I love garlic!!! I’m thinking if I start planting some, it will ‘grow’ on the hubby. He will have no choice but to love it too!

  60. monique says

    has anyone had success growing garlic or onions or potatoes in smart pots? if so, how did you do it?? what type of soil and what type of soil boosts?

  61. says

    You always have the best contests! Unfortunately everybody knows this and my chances of winning are diminished. Whoever does win, be sure to use it in the landscape against a blank backdrop and let them bloom! They also make great cut flowers.

  62. Ben says

    I love garlic. I never used it to cook with before I met my wife. I can’t believe I missed out on so many years of its deliciousness!!

  63. Laura Johnson says

    How can anyone cook without garlic? I would love to try these varieties. The liquid kelp intrigues me too.

  64. Jennifer says

    I’ve only tried growing garlic once and my elderly neighbor decided the leaves were too close to the fence and broke all of them bending them over towards my yard. :( The pot will definitely come in handy.

  65. Mary Jean says

    First attempt at planting garlic this year—got 2 garlic bulbs; split them apart into the individual cloves; took all the skin off the cloves and planted. THEN watched video where I saw NOT to take the skin off the cloves.
    Ready to do it right—-hope I win

  66. Vickie Westcamp says

    Love this site! I was reading through and found a DIY Grenadene recpie and homemade flower candles! I am also looking for Christmas gifts that don’t cost much but show that I care! Homemade gifts are the best! Thanks for the info. I am going to tag your site into my favorites! As far as the garlic – I have never grown any. I have eaten plenty, so I suppose I should grow it for myself. Would love to win this prize!

  67. Jackie Isler says

    Hi – I grew hardneck last year for the first time. I like it because I think it is a better keeper.

  68. Rita Ladany says

    Darn I just had this whole big thing I was posting but got knocked off line. I love garlic ad hope to win this. Zombies beware when I win or should I say Vampires beware!

  69. Bladepdx5 says

    Homegrown garlic is AWESOME. This year we tried the scapes for the first time – cooked up in a frying pan with a little minced garlic and olive oil, we discovered it was a lot like young asparagus. My husband really liked it over steak.

  70. Eve says

    And I only use them to keep squirrels away…. Oh, what I’ve been missing. Love your blog and would love to win the garlic. For some reason, I only like red garlic.

  71. Mary G says

    I inherited some hard neck garlic in the garden of our rental house, so I have no idea what kind it is. I LOVE fresh garlic- one clove has the flavor of 3 store-bought cloves! I want to branch out and try a different variety.

  72. Coriena says

    I have to admit, I’m more scared of cancer than zombies. But they are both terrifying, so I’ll be darned if I’m not planting garlic!

  73. JiLL says

    No one is going to complain about garlic breath with ZOMBIES around! I planted the end of November last year thinking I was waaaay to late but was rewarded with a wonderful crop of monstrous bulbs a month later in the summer. I also plant deep 4-6″ and cover with a minimum of 4″ of straw to accomadate the cold Montana winters.

  74. Randall Simmons says

    And here I thought bullets would slow them down, how wrong can a person be?
    Don’t get cornered in a grocery store by a zombie either, or it’s doomsday for you.
    Saw that one in a movie, so it must be true. Fun sight, am thankful to Tricia for expanding our horizons, Randy

  75. Smmrsvr says

    I’m Zombie. Must grab garlic from lady blogger. If no grab garlic then must bring lady blogger to half-life in the Unpeaceful Valley of the Dead.
    I see blogger lady. I see garlic. I’m close. Couple more feet. Double-latch doors mean nothing to me. There. Face to face with the prize. I open my arms, put my hands on….

  76. Linda says

    At my feeble attempt to grow garlic this year, I bought some organic garden from the natural food store here in Santa Cruz and it did all right but nothing to write home about. Thank you for the tips and I look forward to future success! And yes, heed off those Zombies!!

  77. JJ says

    Glad to see I’m not the only gardener who appreciates a good game of PvZ :-)
    Really though, thanks for suggesting that garlic be planted to repel garden pests — will definitely work this into my garden plans.

  78. medolark says

    I planted my first garlic last yr to keep the deer away from my daffodils when they emerged then I found out deer don’t eat daffodils! LOL The garlic was successful so I bought more varieties to try planting this year. My studies have stated that stiff necks do better in the northern climates so I’m ready for the giveaway. Ü

  79. Dawn says

    I am planting garlic this year for the very first time and am excited to see this Garlic Planting Party. I have some locally grown Chesnok that I planted yesterday but would LOVE another variety to try.

  80. Jennie says

    My favorite game AND my favorite veggie to grow all in one post? Watch out, you just might make a regular reader out of me! I’d love to win the garlic.

  81. Anna Maloy says

    I’d love to win this. I’m having a big garden for the first time this spring and I’d love to add garlic to it!

  82. The Subversive Hippie says

    I’ve never grown garlic before, but my father has. I’d love to add growing garlic organically to my repertoire.

  83. beth says

    Would love to try growing a new type of garlic and this kit might enable me to be a bit more successful than I’ve been in the past!

  84. says

    Ooh, I didn’t know garlic repelled Zombies… How could I have missed that? Gosh, if only it was chard or mustard greens that repel Zombies, we have LOTS of them, but they only repel the kids! If we win, I’ll make up a diabolical brew with chard, potatoes and GaRLiC (after the harvest)–maybe some ginger too, for good measure. That ought to give us Breath of Fire, with which to chase a few things away. “I challenge ye scurvy children to finish yer vegetables… What’s the matter, not Chicken are ye?” Oh, that would be good with grilled chicken, …and honey-mustard. Right, my menu’s set!

  85. says

    Funniest garden blog post EVER. My husband and I love “The Walking Dead, ” so I would also suggest a garden trowel through the brain to finish them off (unless you really WANT them to head over to Scooter Jerk’s house). Also love garlic. I’m so in!

  86. myna lee johnstone says

    zombies actually don’t like having garlic breath so i am wondering what happens if you plant mint beside or behind the garlic?
    i am also wondering if there may be one variety they are less deterred by?

  87. Lisa Finch says

    I was saying to my husband yesterday, we should plant some garlic. Wow, in keeping with the Halloween thing, you are reading my mind. Spooky!

  88. Eve says

    Another chance! And just when the squirrels have “unplanted” my previously planted bulbs of garlic. Pick me, pick me!,

  89. Julia Graham-Whitt says

    Dang!! I’ll NEVER win with this many people commenting! 😉 However. I love garlic. LOVE it. One of the easiest crops of all to grow (long as you have welded wire on the bottom of your raised beds – turns out gophers also love garlic, which I’ve learned the hard way).

  90. Marla says

    Did you see the Joss Whedon video about his pick for President? His main criterion is who will speed up the zombie invasion.

    I didn’t see any garlic in his kitchen. Hmmmm….

  91. N. Stasulli says

    I was so happy to see this giveaway was back again… I just started preparing my back yard for a garden and really got inspired to plant garlic from Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” episode.
    It’s also good to know that I will now be safe from any impending zombie attacks!

  92. semg says

    Today is the first snow! That doesn’t mean I can’t plant garlic, right? RIGHT! Move along, zombies. This place isn’t for you.


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