Planting Garlic

Thinking and planning to grow garlic starts in the fall. It can be planted in the spring but fall planting will yield much larger heads of garlic. In the northern climates where I live, we usually plant garlic the second or third week in October. Last year I wasn’t done until the end of October. I think that the change in climate (warmer weather, in general) will necessitate planting a little bit later in the fall. Ideally, you would like your garlic cloves to be able to establish a good initial root base before going dormant for the winter. If it gets cold and then warms up in November it is possible to get green shoots starting out of the top of your planted cloves and you hope to avoid that because that takes energy from the plant which you would like to preserve for growth in the spring. You are also hoping to avoid garlic diseases as well and some recommend soaking your garlic cloves in a type of alcohol for twenty minutes to kill any mites, fungal disease, etc, usually a vodka or rubbing alcohol. Some also suggest rolling them in a rooting hormone to stimulate a strong root base for more rapid growth in the spring. I plant my cloves in soil that has been amended to be as nearly balanced as I can provide (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals) according to what your soil test indicates you need to add to your soil. I plant my cloves six inches apart down the row with either four or six rows to a bed, rows being about nine to twelve inches apart and cloves with an inch of soil over the top of them. After planting the cloves, I put about 6 inches of mulch (keep in mind I live in the north - if you live further south, you will not need as much mulch). Mulch provides insulation from the cold in winter, as well as inhibiting weed germination and preserving soil moisture during the growing season.

Mark LearnedComment