Planting garlic

Wed. Sep. 16, 2020

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Planting garlic

I am a garlic lover!  I could ward off vampires… and, perhaps, a loved one…

For zone 4 folks, the beginning of October is a good time to plant garlic.  If you live in Zone 3 then a couple of weeks earlier is sufficient.

Garlic ‘Early Italian’

First choose hardneck varieties to plant! What’s the difference between hardneck and softneck varieties? It’s all about their physical characteristics. Hardneck garlic has a hard stalk at its center, and softneck garlic doesn’t. Hardnecks typically have thicker, more brittle skin, unlike softneck garlic that tends to be papery and a bit more difficult to peel.

‘Purple stripe’

The University of MN Extension on planting garlic

The  Spruce has a great article on choosing the right garlic for you!

Rocambole: Rocambole is the most often encountered hardneck type and the term ‘rocambole’ is sometimes synonymous  with hardneck. Rocamboles have parchment skins that are quite a bit thinner than softneck varieties.

Garlic ‘Spanish Roja’ rocambole

Garlic grows best in sandy loam soil due to it’s texture and draining capabilities.  Make sure you add lots of organic matter to your planting area.  Your soil should be loose and fluffy for optimum growing.  A raised bed is a great option.  Plant cloves pointy side up about 6 inches apart in rows about 24 inches apart.  Three to 5 weeks after planting, mulch your garlic bed with a 3 to 4 inch layer of straw to keep temperatures more moderate.


The cold isn’t the problem its the ground-heaving that can push the bulb out of the ground that’s the problem.  You can remove the mulch in April.  Watering is most critical from mid May through June as garlic has a shallow root system.  For hardneck varieties, it’s recommended that you remove what’s called the scape once it starts to curl.   Your garlic clove yield is reduced by 20 to 30 percent if you leave the scape on.   In some countries it’s considered a delicacy and used in stir fries, salads and steamed veggies.  Garlic scape Recipes

Garlic scape

Garlic is technically a vegetable!  Additionally, when chopping your garlic, the more you slice, pound, grate or chop your garlic, the more of a compound, called allicin, is released. Therefore, if you grate your garlic using the small holes on a box grater, or purée it in a food processor, your garlic will be much more pungent than if it were sliced. This is useful to keep in mind when you’re thinking of saving time by tossing those garlic cloves into the Cuisinart.  A recipe for Roasted Garlic

I use garlic for nearly everything!  I LOVE it!  In eggs, shrimp dishes, pastas, chili and, of course, my roasted tomatoes!!

roasted tomatoes on triscuits with cheese! YUM

I normally say to buy LOCALLY first, however, I did find Rasacreekfarm and they’re all about garlic! They are located in Canada. If nothing else, you can enjoy the beauty of all the types of garlic they grow!