I was thinking about planting a border around my vegetable garden with garlic and onions. What is the best time to plant for my area, best type for my area etc. Is there links I can learn more about it and where do you buy your seed?
Goatster, fall planting usually works better in the south because garlic starts growing very early in the spring. Here in my Kentucky gardens, for instance, I see new shoots around February.
This can be a good thing, though, as you can spend the summer building and amending the border beds, and have them ready to go come October or November. Keep in mind that alliums are heavy feeders. If you're growing organically, amend the soil with compost, and blood meal, bone meal, and wood ashes. Apply those last at the rate of 1 cup each per ten row feet. Then, next May, side-dress with those same amendments.
Onions benefit, during the growing season, with an application of nitrogen about every two-three weeks until they start bulbing, at which time cease the nitrogen.
As a general rule, softneck varieties do better in the south. This doesn't mean you can't grow hardnecks as well, just that they don't do as well.
Garlic and onions can work very well as a border. Keep in mind that they grow kind of tall, though. So you'll want to keep an entryway into the rest of the garden. Plus, alliums and legumes are antagonistic, so you'll want to keep your peas and beans as far from the border as you can.
As many of us have discovered, alliums can be grown in permanent beds dedicated to the purpose. So this could be a long-term addition to your garden. The alliums also are useful in deterring some pests, which will also be a help. I've noticed, for instance, that rabbits will not cross my onion and garlic beds.
For on-line and mail-order sources, best bet is to peruse the back-threads. We've discussed this many times, and you'll likely come up with a list of 8-10 reliable suppliers. In fact, there's a very recent thread on this, which should still be on the front page.
Good luck with this project.
Thank you for all the great information. I would love to also try the beautiful colored alliums also.