When to plant garlic
You can plant garlic pretty much from September to March inclusive – northern areas start from late September through to November; southern areas start from February, March.
Generally garlic should be planted in the fall, 3 to 5 weeks before the soil begins to freeze. That is enough time for the root system to establish. Garlic is hardy and will tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F (7°C). If the temperatures drop below 20°F (7°C) mulching is recommended (it should be removed after the frost has past).
Planting garlic in the spring time is not as popular as the fall, however it can produce great results too. Although garlic is a hardy plant the temperature damage to the leaves could kill the garlic plant. Planting garlic in the warmer spring months like February to April could eliminate this risk.
To grow the best garlic you need good soil, sun and space. Mix in lots of best quality compost before planting garlic. The best would be well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH and rich in organic matter. Ideally garlic should be planted in the same bed of soil only once every 6 years. Garlic goodness comes from the soil and most of the minerals and richness gets absorbed by garlic. If you can rotate your garlic with other crops in your garden for the best results.
Preparation of the garlic cloves for planting
Break up the bulbs no more than 24 hours before planting, being careful not to damage them. Closely examine your cloves to ensure that they are the desired size & quality, the skin on the cloves is intact, and that there are no signs of bruising, disease or fungi.
Some gardeners soak their garlic cloves overnight in a solution of seaweed and baking soda 24 hours prior to planting. This decreases the chance of developing mites eggs and fungi and gives the cloves a bust. Vinegar or alcohol can also be used for soaking but cloves should only be soaked for no more than 3 minutes and planted the same day.
Planting garlic – how to
- Plant your garlic cloves at least 6 inches apart from each other and in an area with plenty of sun light.
- Place the cloves 3-4 cm below the surface, root up (pointy end up), at least 6” apart.
Elephant Garlic will need twice as much space – plant it at least 12” apart.
Wild Garlic needs to be planted 9” – 12” apart. For those with limited space container planting could be a solution. The type of care for garlic planted in the ground is no different to that for garlic planted in containers. You should provide the same conditions such as good soil, feeding, watering, mulching, weeding and protection regardless of where your garlic grows.
Planting garlic in a pot
- Plant 2 cloves to a 6” pot, 4 to an 8” pot and 8 to a 10” pot.
- Use pots with no less than 6” deep to give roots enough space.
- Position the pots in the full sun.