8 Tips on When to Plant Garlic for the Best Harvest

when to plant garlic

Most garden vegetables go into the ground in spring, but there are some tricky plants that don’t follow that rule… like garlic. So delicious, and so easy to grow if you know when to plant garlic. That’s why I’m breaking it down for you with all the details on how to grow and when to plant garlic.

Garlic is the magical herb that makes everything delicious. Seriously, adding some garlic even got my veggie-hating husband to eat broccoli! So I had to make sure to get it in my garden this year. If you’re ready to get the garlic going in your garden the keep reading to find out when to plant garlic!

when to grow garlic

Just an FYI that some of the links in those post are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase something I recommend. 🙂

When is the best time to plant garlic?

The best time to plant garlic is in the fall after the weather has cooled, but the ground is still workable (meaning it’s not frozen). The ideal time would be around September or October in a lot of places, but it will vary depending on your climate.

While most vegetables and herbs are best planted in the spring, garlic needs the cool weather to develop properly.

How late can you plant garlic?

But what happens if you miss that window? No worries!

I totally forgot about planting garlic last year and didn’t get a chance until December, which is really late for my zone. I’m in zone 6b in Pennsylvania, so it is quite cold by December here.

Luckily the ground hadn’t completely frozen yet and I was able to dig deep enough to stick my cloves in the dirt and get my garlic planted. I was a little worried it was too late, but I wasn’t! Check out this picture of what my garlic currently looks like. It’s doing amazing. In case you want to know where I got the garlic to plant, I got these from Amazon.

Some people plant garlic ever later than I did!

when to plant garlic

Can I plant garlic in May?

Yes! Well… kind of. It just might not look the same if you don’t follow the normal calendar on when to plant garlic. While the usual months to plant garlic are October or September, it is possible to grow it in May.

Garlic needs to be in the ground when it is cold out in order to form cloves. The cold temperatures are what cause the garlic to split into multiple cloves. Without the cold, cloves won’t form.

But all isn’t lost! Instead of a bulb of garlic cloves, you will just grow one giant clove of garlic if you plant your garlic when it is warmer out. At least you won’t have to peel so many little cloves, and if you use a lot of garlic, then it might be a benefit to just have one giant clove instead of a bunch of little ones.

So if you missed the cold weather, but still want to plant some garlic? Give it a try! Turns out there are a lot of times when to plant garlic and it still (kind of) work.

How do I plant garlic?

Before planting you’ll have to pull each clove apart from the bulb. You plant each individual clove, NOT the whole bulb altogether once you know when to plant garlic.

Plant garlic cloves with the pointy end up and about an inch deep in the soil, spaced around six inches apart, then water if needed. You want to keep them moist, but not soaked. That’s it! Super easy.

Water your garlic plants regularly to keep them moist but not soaked.

Should I soak garlic before planting?

Nope. No need to soak it. I just pulled my cloves apart and popped them straight into the ground. I did add a little water after planting, but just enough to keep the ground moist.

Can you grow garlic from store bought?

Yes, but it’s best to get organic.

According to some veteran gardeners I talked to, some garlic is sprayed with a growth regulator that will prevent a lot of store bought garlic from growing properly. But if you get organic garlic then you will probably be able to use store bought.

Though some gardeners have had no problem growing store bought that isn’t organic, so you can always take your chances with regular garlic too.

If you want to go the safe route when to plant garlic, you can also buy seed garlic. I got mine from Amazon this year and it’s doing amazing.

When to harvest garlic

Harvest when leaves start to turn brown and die back for best flavor. If you pull them too early they won’t be full developed, but if you pull them too late they will start to dry up.

If you’re not totally sure whether your garlic is ready you can try brushing aside the top layer of dirt surrounding them and see if it’s ready.

How to store garlic

Store harvested garlic by braiding together individual stalks of garlic into one long braid then hang it upside down from a hook or nail in a cool dark place. For an easy way to braid garlic, check out this YouTube video.

Planting garlic is so easy when you know when to plant garlic. And how awesome will it be to just stop by your pantry or root cellar to grab some garlic instead of going to the store? I know I am really excited about this year’s garlic harvest, especially knowing when to plant garlic now!

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