Need Help Re: When to Plant Garlic

doriswk(5)April 5, 2014

Hi there, I am in zone 5 and new to planting garlic, just got this garlic planting bug recently.
I read confusing messages, some say garlic needs to be planted in fall because it needs to go through a cold period. Some say early spring is O.K.
I really want to plant some garlic now. not have to wait till fall. Snow here is just melting now, probably some more on the way. Parts of ground still covered with snow, in other parts where it is more exposed to sun the snow is gone.
I have bought some garlic in the store and noticed some bulbs have green tips, just like when onion starts to grow sprouts in the kitchen. Would these garlic bulbs be good candidates, as they are already in the growing mood? Or must I get them from the nursery? I often stick the root parts of store bought green onions in the ground and they grow well.
Greatly appreciate your input!

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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

The ideal planting time is in the fall. The garlic gets it's roots established and depending on how soon or late you plant it might grow some leaves. It will overwinter and start growing first thing in spring.

Planting in the spring will work but the resulting bulbs will be smaller than those planted in fall. Spring planted cloves have to establish their roots, grow leaves, and bulb up in only about four months, depending on how early you plant and when you harvest. If you have to plant in spring, plant as early as you possibly can.

And yes, the cloves that are sprouting will be fine to plant.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Thanks Rodney for your quick response. I guess small bulbs are better than now bulbs.... I am planning to plant right now since the grounds are not frozen any more. Or would it be better to plant in containers first and then transplant?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:13PM
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Transplanting sets the organism back so it is sort of a waste of time. Next year plant in the fall.

I grow some garlic in 18" containers and they get nearly as big as those grown with more room. I plant 9 cloves per container. It is a good way to grow any garlic you get that might carry virus.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:44AM
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O.K. I'll keep this in mind. Given what you are saying. I will perhaps plant the supermarket bought garlic in a barrel, and get some garlic from the nursery for the beds.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:55AM
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Spring planted garlic is better than no planted garlic. Once started keep them growing with adequate moisture, top dressing with garden fertilizer, and a good mulch to keep conditions as stable as possible. There should be no need to transplant.

FWIW most nursery provided spring garlic is really no better than grocery store garlic that is starting to sprout. My experience with spring nursery garlic bulbs has not been all that good, no better than out of the grocery store bin unless you get it shipped in from an actual garlic nursery, most of which actually sold out last fall.

So many of the nursery offered bulbs I see around here have such dinky little cloves! You would be ahead to pick some store bulbs with the biggest outside cloves you can find to plant, and then plant the biggest cloves only and eat the littler cloves.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:35PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Lets say that garlic planting is like wheat planting. Fall planting and spring planting. Fall planting gives a head start, since garlic (or wheat) has already established root system and it is ready to take off very early in the spring. For Spring planting you have to wait for the ground to thaw first and then the garlic seeds will require some time to sprout and grow roots. In the opinion of many, spring planted garlic might not produce as big a bulb as the fall planted one. BUT IF you have a cool spring extending into summer, your garlics might have a good chance to develop good size bulbs. Remember that garlic is a COOL?COLD weather crop and does not like hot weather, like onions. So that is one reason for fall planting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:05AM
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Thankwhat a timely thread. We are developing a Youth Urban Garden in partnership with a newly formed Veterans Advocacy Group (by Vets for Vets). The students have written letters to Captain Planet for a Nature Trail, I have roamed the streets of Greensboro for Reclaimed Wood, received donations from Lowes and Home Depot and monetary gifts from Habitat for Humanity and a few local foundations. The children all excited but not as excited as I am. One young girl stated she would love to grow carrots (WTH) who raised her lol. Thanks man. You have further encouraged me in what I strive to do for our Youth!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:14PM
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