Fall is traditionally the best time to plant garlic.
A good rule of thumb is to wait until after the first day of fall to plant. Try to plant 6-8 weeks before the first frost of the fall season for best results.
Prepare your planting area by ensuring your soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter and gets full sun.
Break apart cloves from bulb while keeping the papery husk on, and plant them 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up).
Place leaves or straw over the planting area to overwinter. Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (Young shoots can’t survive in temps below 20°F on their own. Keep them under cover.)
Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size.
Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Low the amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer after May as this will help focus more on bulb formation instead of the green growth above ground.
Water every 3 to 5 days mid-May through June.
Harvest when the tops begin to yellow and fall over, before they are completely dry. To harvest, carefully lift the bulbs with a spade or garden fork. Pull the plants, carefully brush off the soil, and let them cure in an airy, shady spot for two weeks.
The bulbs are cured and ready to store when the wrappers are dry and papery and the roots are dry. Bulbs should be stored in a cool (40 degrees F), dark, dry place, and can be kept in the same way for several months. Don’t store in your basement if it’s moist!
If you plan on planting garlic again next season, save some of your largest, best-formed bulbs to plant again in the fall.
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