Planting Garlic in the Fall

Fall is the time to plant garlic for next year. I purchased two certified organic garlic heads from my local farmer’s market before the end of the season which I have divided to plant. Each garlic clove will produce a full garlic head!

Garlic prefers rich, well-drained soil in full sun from winter through spring. In advance of planting, prep your site with composted mulch and free the area of weeds. The row I planted my garlic in did have some salad greens sprouting nearby, but I am not going to worry about those since I’ll be picking them soon anyway. Pick a day to plant while the soil is still warm (up to mid-October for me in zone 5) because garlic needs a few weeks to set roots before the soil freezes. Break the heads of garlic into cloves and place them within your row 6″ apart with 12″ spacing between rows if you’re planting multiple rows. The clove should be root side down, 2″ into the ground. Water and cover with mulch and soil.

In the spring, garlic will poke through when the soil warms and start to produce scapes, long, twisty vines, growing out of the garlic head. In order to have a good harvest of garlic bulbs, you will want to trim off these scapes to redirect the energy of the plant into the bulb again. The scapes themselves are a delicacy and add a subtle garlic flavor to cooking. I especially like to sautée them in butter and then scramble some eggs into the mix.

By mid-summer, the heads should be ready to harvest! Leading up to harvest, you should not water. Carefully dig out, brush off dirt, and hang for a few weeks to cure.

I have carefully broken up the garlic heads

I have carefully broken up the garlic heads

The pointy end will face up when planted

The pointy end will face up when planted

Garlic cloves placed six inches apart in a row

Garlic cloves placed six inches apart in a row

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