garlic planting times in mild winter climate

mckenziek(9CA)May 23, 2013

I live in central California in the coastal mountains (Santa Cruz mountains) around 850 feet above sea level.

In the winter we get a fair amount of rain (no snow). At this altitude I get some cold nights where the grass is frozen in the morning. Seldom do we have freezing temperatures in day time. I've seen water in the garden hose freeze overnight and had to scrape ice off of my car windows only a few times per winter. As much as anything this is due to the cold night sky effect more than cold air temperatures.

We get no rain in the summer, but I can water as needed.

Anyway, I am wondering about when I can plant garlic in this climate. Last year I planted it sometime in fall. Maybe October. I don't really remember. Looks like it is almost ready to harvest.

Given this climate, is there a way to stagger plantings to get a kind of continuous harvest? Can I plant through the winter?

Or can I maybe plant a batch or two in autumn and again in spring? We usually get a nice burst of warm weather in late September. October is not too cold. No danger of freezing in October.

--McKenzie

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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

For best results, you should plant all you want in Fall and harvest them starting about now depending upon the varieties you plant, of course. No reason to use up so much valuable garden space at the height of the season when garlic is happy to grow over winter and stores for more than a year if conditions are favorable.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:59AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

In zone 9 you probably can plant garlic as late as late November. I have done it in Atl GA. . The purpose is to overwinter and to have some top before the cold and freezing temperatures.

But I don't see the reason for staggering thing that matures and can be kept for months. Staggering make sense for fresh veggies. like lettuce, radish, cucumber.. etc

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:49PM
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mckenziek(9CA)

Thanks Seysonn and Still_kris! What you say makes sense. This is my first year doing garlic.

I'm not sure if I am really zone 9. I got that by typing in my zip code to the online zone finder. But I am 850 feet above sea level, and the winter nights are a lot colder here than at sea level in the same zip code.

I hope to plant a lot more garlic next year, and I will just do one big batch, as you suggest.

--McKenzie

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:07PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

"I'm not sure if I am really zone 9. I got that by typing in my zip code to the online zone finder."
-------------------------------------------------------
In that case open your profile (on the top, right side) and edit it for proper Zone, number, name..

As you see, the responses to your questions are often related to where you are. Like I am in zone 8, Washington state(8WA).

back to your question. Planting garlics and onions are not as simple as ,say, planting tomatoes. Each climate require certain types that is suitable for it, in terms of growing season, temperatures and more than that DAYLIGHT LENGTH. Here in WA, we have long summer daylight, Further down south, in southern California, e.g., it is not like here. So then the onion/ garlic that grows best here might not do well down there.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 5:13AM
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mckenziek(9CA)

Seysonn, how can I determine the correct zone? Maybe 9 is correct. Is WA just the state code? I can certainly add a CA after my zone if that helps people. I normally describe where I live if I think it is relevant, but of course sometimes it might be relevant and I don't realize it. In this thread, I knew it was relevant so I put an extensive description of where I live in the original post.

--McKenzie

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 6:21PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

--McKenzie

There are few ways to find your Gardening Zone.. one way is right above comment text box where it says:
zone(optional)..................
click on "zone". Then on the page that opens, somewhere says: Gardening Zone by zip code.
Click on that then enter your zip code .Voila .I just did that and found out that my Gardening zone is 7 not 8;
Then I opened my profile page. Toward the bottom at has a text box named: Gardening zone. and edited it. Then at the bottom clicked on SAVE THE CHANGES.

In that box enter your zone, suffix it with any thing you want.
Then it will appear in your post, just after your user name.

DON.T FORGET to click "Save Changes"

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:25AM
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planetes(7b (Cascadia - PNW))

I realize this thread is a week old but I wanted to offer my input. I think seysonn might be missing what mckenziek is asking.

Mckenzies is asking how to figure out which zone is local when factoring in elevation (which zip code maps ignore to a large degree) of your specific location.

For example: I live on top of a hill near Marysville, WA (98270 zip) at around 600 feet elevation. If I plug my zip code into a map tool, I usually get a hardiness zone of 7b.

Now, I have 2 separate digital weather stations at my house with outside thermometers located at opposite ends of the property. I have watched (and actually logged) my daily temperatures and I know for a fact that if intellicast or one of the other weather forecast sites says a low of 38, my weather stations will almost always register a low several degrees lower (elevation) and likewise, my highs will often be a few degrees above the official airport weather station's measurement.

This is probably due to a combination of elevation and other micro-climate effects.

To answer Mckenziek's true question, there may be a broad brush calculator that figures out the local zone including the elevation but I seriously doubt it due to micro climates.

I suggest getting a good thermometer or two and actually doing the measurements yourself for a year. If you do that, you'll be able to get a feel for the specific temperature extremes and you can use your localize annual low to determine the true zone number. You'll need to do this several years to get a decent sample size but you'll get a bit of an instinctive feel for it in the process.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 4:44PM
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mckenziek(9CA)

Thanks Planetes! And you are quite correct. There is no doubt that my micro-climate is different (colder at night, and sunnier in the summer) than most of my zipcode. That is why I was hesitant to just use the assigned zone.

I appreciate your and Seysonn's replies very much.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 2:15PM
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planetes(7b (Cascadia - PNW))

mckenzie, remember that the zones are based on annual low temperature. If you're on top of a hill (greater than 500 feet), I'd say you could probably take a zone off of whatever the zip code reads.. so 7b in my case would be 6a.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:10AM
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planetes(7b (Cascadia - PNW))

correction, 7b would be 7a.. bit of a typo there.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 12:11AM
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coachjohn

October ok for you some just plant 2 weeks before anticipated first frost. Doesn't do any good to stagger plantings but different varieties mature at different times. Turbans usually always first, silverskins latest (2 to 4 weeks after turban) or porcelains in between them. Also turbans shelf life less than silverskin or porcelains. If you plan it can have garlic stored for a while.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 12:10AM
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inulover

More important than zone - is cold weather dwell time for garlic. Garlics need 6 to 8 weeks in the 35 to 50 degree temperature range to head. There are a number of articles if you google garlic vernalization. I am in zone 9A, but the cold dwell is so short in central Florida that we have to refrigerate our seed before planting. I plant early October, but could get away with November.

Larry

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 8:52PM
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inulover

More important than zone - is cold weather dwell time for garlic. Garlics need 6 to 8 weeks in the 35 to 50 degree temperature range to head. There are a number of articles if you google garlic vernalization. I am in zone 9A, but the cold dwell is so short in central Florida that we have to refrigerate our seed before planting. I plant early October, but could get away with November.

Larry

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 8:59PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Partly agree with INULOVER. The idea is exposure to cold, just likes tulips , daffodils. But garlics certainly tolerate much lower temperatures than 30F. I have seen then to stay in snow and ice down to 19F. This is with green top of about 8". Winter wheat is also similar.

So then usda zoning has very little meaning here and in summer gardening in general. But we can only draw some correlation data from it. I have gardened in 7B in GA and here in the PNW. There are very little similarities between them. Right now there are some zone 5s and 6s that are ahead of our zone 7B when it comes to growth and ripening fruits.

Another important thing to consider in choosing varieties to plant in different locations, in terms of temperatures and latitude. Alliums family are daylight sensitive. I am no expert on this but I can only suggest to into that aspect too.
In other words, if you get some, say, organic garlic from grocery store and plant them, you may or may not get good results.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:37AM
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mckenziek(9CA)

Thanks Larry! I didn't know about vernalization, but I will look into it now.

Compared to much of the country, we have mild winters. But I wouldn't be too surprised if the soil temp drops below 50 for 6 weeks in mid-winter. We frequently have frozen dew in the mornings.

--McKenzie

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:07AM
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Mrs.WinterWheat(3b-4a)

Garlic seem to be quite resilient to cold, during the winter we had a couple cold snaps down to -40C. My garlic had about a foot of snow cover with no mulch.
I found finding my zone quite frustrating cause we live right on the dividing line. I might have to try the suggestion of a good thermometer and tracking the temperature myself.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 1:05PM
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