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Ultimate Guide to Planting Garlic in Fall

Garlic is popular for its peculiar aroma, rich taste and easy care requirements.

Ideally, Garlic is grown in the fall as it requires vernalization to establish its roots by going dormant. Later, by early spring, it produces green foliage followed by larger bulbs. 

Planting Garlic in the fall has much to do with your living zone, type of Garlic, and care practices. This article explains if you are thinking about planting Garlic in the fall.

How Late Can You Plant Garlic in the Fall?

The suggested time for planting Garlic clove is in fall or cooler climates; however, it varies according to the climatic zone.

Traditionally, Garlic planted around late September to November grows giant bulbs. The cloves can be planted as late as February or March, but the yield may be reduced.

It’s okay to delay the planting by a week or so until Garlic receives 5-8 weeks of cold chills, not more than 40°F.

The winter works its magic in two common types of Garlic, hardneck and softneck. Their cultivation is similar but differs in hardiness, planting time, and appearance. 

Hardneck Garlic has a thick central scape and pinkish skin, whereas softneck has creamy-white skin that lacks a scape. 

Before your start planning the process, make sure you know which type suits your zone from the table below.

Climatic Zone Type of GarlicPlanting Date
0-3HardneckEarly to late September
3-5HardneckLate September to mid October
5-7HardneckBefore the first frost, early September to late October
7-9Both softneck and hardneckLate October to November
9-10SoftneckMid November to late January
Note! Early or late planting of Garlic ends up with undergrown bulbs.

How to Plant Garlic in the Fall?

All the Garlic benefits, taste, and aroma, may have enticed you by now. Follow the simple steps below to have your stock of home-grown Garlic.

Step 1: Source the Seed

Practically, it is easy to use store-bought Garlic as they go through a chemical process against sprouting. 

But, Garlic in the market comes from different parts of the world. So they may have a hard time establishing roots in your garden.


You should visit a nearby nursery or farmer’s market to get the “seed Garlic.” Always look for disease-free large-sized Garlic.

Step 2: Soil Preparation

Garlic does well in raised beds, containers, and even normally in-ground. 

For that, make a raised bed 10-12 inches and 1 meter wide, enough for the roots to develop.

Further, root vegetables like onion and Garlic feed heavily on nitrogen. So it is vital to incorporate nitrogen-rich fertilizer to kick-start root establishment.

You can add some fish meal, chicken manure, bone meal, or even chemical fertilizer like urea to the depth where Garlic is sown.

As waterlogging is a significant pullback for germination in Garlic, the soil should be well-draining, pH of 6-7. 

Step 3: Sowing 

Ahead of sowing the cloves individually, ensure their papery skin is unharmed. These are armor against decaying cloves.

Garlic cloves are sown 2 inches deep and 5-8 meters apart, orienting the thicker end downwards.

The distance, both in and between the clove, should be 10-12 inches for each to have enough root expansion.

Avoid watering the fall-planted Garlic amidst inactive winter months; water only during the initial week if required.

 Garlic could be an excellent companion crop due to the sulfur compound curbing diseases and pests.

When to Harvest and Store Garlic?

Garlic from late September to mid-October should be ready by late June to mid-July, around eight months from its planting.

Technically, Garlic planted in the fall gets ready for harvest from the end of the spring to mid-summer.

Requirements of Garlic
Hi! You might want to check this image to know the optimum care requirements.

That said, it’s more reliable to go with Garlic’s visual signal.

Aged leaves at the lower end turn yellow and dry but still intact. That’s when you pull out the Garlic. 

However, to be sure about the maturity, uproot a bulb, and check if it ticks the boxes of perfect size and firmness. 

Meanwhile, cutting off water 3-4 weeks before reaping is an overlooked step. But excess moisture harbors mold, ending up with rotten bulbs. 

In addition, the weather forecast helps you choose a perfect harvest date and saves you from tragic crop loss.

For harvesting the Garlic, you might use a garden fork to loosen the soil around the bulb. Carefully uproot them without any damage to the bulb.

Pro tip: Avoid pulling Garlic from the ground to prevent the breakage of the stalk.

Storing Garlic

The better you cure your garlic bulbs after harvest, the longer their shelf-life will be. 

  • Arrange the Garlic in a few bunches, and choose a shady spot to string them up for 2-3 weeks, such that enough dry air circulates.
  • Use a fan or dryer when air-drying is not feasible. 
  • Remove the Garlic from the hanging string once the wrapper is dry, the cloves easily detachable, and the roots dry.
  • Shorten the tip leaving 1-2 inches, and cut the root fibers.
  • Brush and peel off excess dirty skin from the bulbs to make them clean for consumption.
  • Separate the larger bulbs as a starter for next season’s planting. 
  • Avoid storing the cured bulb in a humid or too-cold room for prolonged use.

Wrapping up…

Planting Garlic in the fall requires winter protection. Covering the cloves with straw mulch would help them survive the harsh winter.

You know the outcome of hard work is sweet or pungent in this case. 

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