Best Planting Dates for Onions & Garlic in Central OK

biradarcm(7b)November 23, 2010

1. I wonder what is best time-frame for planting Onions and Garlic in central Oklahoma (Zone7b)?

2. What are the recommended Garlic varieties for this zone? I go with Dawn's recommendations for Dixondale Onions, now looking for Garlic.

I did plant both Onions and Garlic in early November (7-8) last year, had wonderful harvest of Garlic but little luck with onions (all bolted).

Thank you -Chandra

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Chandra,

Since I live in southern OK, the best onion-planting date for me is mid-February. Central OK is roughly 100 miles north of me, so I'd guess around mid-Feb. to latest Feb./earliest March for central OK, depending on what the weather is doing. If it is especially cold or especially wet at the correct planting time, I might wait a week or two to plant, but the later you plant, the more you risk that you'll get smaller onions, so you can't wait too long.

The general rule of thumb is to set out transplants about the size of a pencil, or slightly smaller, about 4 to 6 weeks before the average date of your last spring frost.

Onions bolt because of stress and some years we have a lot of bolting here in OK and some years we see relatively little. It helps if you plant at the right time and if your onion plants are smaller than 1/4" in diameter when you set them out, but you're still at the mercy of the weather after that. The problem is that if onion plants are exposed to degrees of 45 degrees or below for several days after they're transplanted into the ground, they go dormant. Then, as soon as it warms up, they break dormancy and then bolt because they're biennials. Size is important in this case because any onion plants smaller than 1/4" won't bolt if exposed to colder temps than they like. Or, at least, they aren't supposed to.

As for garlic, I think most garlics do well here, s and the earlier they're planted (should be planted in the fall), the better. I have planted plain old garlic from the grocery store and it has grown fine. I've also purchased and planted named varieties from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. This year I have grocery store garlic and, from SESE, Inchellium Red, Silverwhite, and Italian Braiding, which all are softneck garlics.

I'm sure Jay or someone who plants a million kinds of garlic will have a lot more recommendations of good varieties than I have.

I've linked the Oklahoma State University Garden Planting Guide below for you. It shows a range of dates for each kind of vegetable. The earlier date is for the southern end of the state and the later date is for the northern end of the state. If you're in the middle of the state, you want to choose a date midway between the two.


Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Planning Guide

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 3:15PM
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Or you can use the Dixondale Farms shipping chart. They are suppose to ship when the planting time is right. They say 21 Feb for me and I am in the NE corner of the state.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dixondale Chart

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 4:07PM
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I planted some multiplier onions a month ago. A few have sprouted, but I plan to cover them all with a heavy leaf mulch. Here in NE OK, the winters can be brutal at times and I don't want to loose these. The company I bought them from warned about the possibility of frost kill in the case of fall planting, but said many do plant and then mulch like crazy, and it apparently works out most of the time. But they did caution to save some of the bulbs for spring planting just in case it didn't.

Also, need info on leeks. I was planting garlic yesterday, (11/23), and then decided to transplant some leeks that had been standing a long time. When I dug them up, it appeared to me they have been dividing, (multiplying) from the original leek. Is this common? I've never read or heard that leeks would multiply. If this is true, it would be a real bonus, as I always seem to be leek challenged.
Next spring I want to find a good source of leek transplants and take it from there rather than try to grow from seed.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


If you don't dig up mature leeks and leave them in the ground long enough, they will indeed form little leeklets. You can transplant/replant the little leeklets when you harvest your leeks, and usually the little leeklets will live and grow, giving you a headstart on the next year's crop. Also, if you purchase grocery store leeks that still have the roots attached, you often can cut off the bottom portion with the roots and plant them. It may take a while, but eventually they'll start growing.

Leeks are easy from seed, but it can take 3 or 4 months of growing them from seed in flats to get them large enough to transplant out into the ground, and I don't want to deal with tiny leek plants indoors for that long, so I just use transplants.

A great source of Lancelot leeks is Dixondale Farms. Seedmama has a thread started to do a combined order of onions/leeks because, with Dixondale, the more bundles of onions you order, the less the cost per bundle. By combining the orders of many of us, we'll get a great price.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 11:45AM
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