Here we are, another turn of the season. Cool days and nights are creeping in, the end is near. Time to pull out the sweaters, cook warm soup, and tuck-in the garden. Fall is the golden age of the year, the time to reflect on the season, and gear up for the end. In addition to the annual clean up and "tuck-in," autumn is the best time of year to take notes, reflect on mistakes and successes and enjoy the last gasps of warmth and sun.
So, it's really quite wonderful that one of the last tasks in the garden is planting garlic. Planting in general is so counter to all the other tasks this time of year. When you plant garlic you are putting-it-to-bed, since it needs a cold cycle to perform well. On the other hand, the very act of planting, looking forward to spring and summer and harvest brings the cycle of the seasons together quite nicely, proving that a garden never begins or ends, only changes.
Planting garlic is quite nice. I like to pick a sunny day in mid-October, when the soil is still warm. Try to leave enough time before the ground freezes solid for the garlic to set roots. (Garlic can be planted any time before the ground freezes solid, though, ideally 3-6 weeks prior.)
Begin by breaking apart the heads of garlic into cloves. Count the cloves and determine the amount of space you need. Garlic prefers full sun, so choose a spot that will get full sun for the spring and early summer. Each clove will be planted at 6" spacing, in rows 12" apart. Weed and work a proper amount of garden space. After cultivating the space, mark the rows. Plant cloves root side down, 2" deep, at least 6" apart, in rows 12" apart. Water and cover with mulch. Your garlic will need to be tended to in the spring, once the ground warms and it begins to grow.
For more detailed planting and care instruction, please see our downloadable guide:Growing Garlic