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Monday, September 10, 2012

How and Why to Plant Fall Garlic: Maryland Zone 7

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Garlic is a great garden plant because it goes in the ground when a lot of vegetables are done growing. This is more true for areas that get real winters, like my area (Zone 7). Garlic can be plant in the spring but it is best planted in the fall. What is the reason? Garlic needs to go through a cold period of 40 degrees or less as to be primed and ready to form large bulbs come spring harvest. They need about a 2 week cold period. Your refrigerator could replace cold weather.

Fall garlic should be planted in late September or October. Basically, fall planted garlic will get the cold weather and form large garlic bulbs come spring. Spring planted garlic will grow but you could end up with a smaller bulb. Either way, you can grow garlic in the fall and spring! And what else do you have growing in your garden through the winter.

Garlic should be planted about 3 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. This depth is to provide frost protection and heaving protection during ground freezes. If your winters aren't causing major ground freezing you don't have to plant as deeply. I plant my garlic a little closer together (2 inches) because I am not after monster size bulbs. I'll never use it all. I prefer to pull it fresh. I don't even cure it typically. But if you want to get maximum size bulbs and cure your bulbs, you should plant your cloves 4-6 inches apart.

You can order garlic from catalogs or (in my case) plant garlic bought at the grocery store. There are rumors that grocery store garlic is treated to retard sprouting but that is either a myth or ineffective. I grow grocery store garlic yearly and it works without issue. To prepare your bulb for planting, simply break the bulb into individual cloves. Throw away any overly soft or damaged cloves. The clove gets planted as describe above with the root side down. If in doubt, just plant it sideways and Nature will do it's thing and it will right itself so to speak

Everyone has room for a row of garlic. Give it a try. You have a few more weeks of planting time left.

Good Gardening,
Gary





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