As fall approaches, it is time to start thinking about planting garlic for harvesting in summer 2024! While you can plant garlic in the spring for harvesting in the summer, it will produce much smaller heads than those planted in the fall. Here are some tips for getting the most from your garlic planting.
- When buying garlic, buy large cloves without damage or disease. The largest cloves make the largest heads! Do not use store bought it likely treated to prevent sprouting.
- Cloves can be stored in a cool dark place prior to planting. Do not break the heads until you plant them.
- Garlic grows best in fertile, well-drained soil in the full sun (6 to 8 hours of light is needed). Prepare your beds with compost so you are ready to go.
- Planting is best from September to as late as November when the ground begins to freeze.
- To plant, break cloves apart and push the root end (rounded end) down into the soil 2-3 inches with 4 to 8 inches between cloves and cover with soil. Rows can be 6 to 12 inches apart. You can also use bonemeal as a fertilizer to provide additional nutrients (mix into soil 3-4 inches below the surface prior to planting the cloves.
- Cover cloves with around 4 inches of mulch (i.e. straw, leaves, etc.)
- In the spring, remove the mulch after last frost, in our area mid-May seems to work well.
- Garlic is a heavy feeder so side dress with blood meal or other fertilizer after you remove the mulch in spring is highly recommended.
- It is best to keep the bed free of weeds and to make sure it is watered every 3 to 5 days from mid-May through June.
- Remove scapes when they form in mid-summer. They are quite tasty, so find some recipes to use them up.
- Harvest when the stalks and leaves yellow about halfway down the plant.
- Remove dirt and cure in a well-ventilated area.
Garlic stores well in a cool dry spot, especially the hard neck types. Fall does not mean your planting season needs to come to an end, so think about adding some garlic to your gardens this fall. If you have any questions, we would be happy to help.