Garlic will only grow right when planted in the late fall. October is the best month to plant garlic in most areas. The plants need exposure to cold weather to create a bulb full of separate cloves. So, you cannot plant garlic when you may plant other garden vegetables, especially not right in the spring. December is the absolute latest time to get your garlic cloves in the ground. From start to finish, garlic takes about nine months to grow.
What is the Best Month to Plant Garlic?
Overall, October is the best month for planting garlic. The timing will depend on the climate in your area. You want to give the cloves about a month or so to grow roots before the first frost arrives. The garlic should not have enough time to sprout, however.
- In most locations, October is the ideal planting month for garlic.
- The timing differs depending on the climate in your area.
- Plant 4 weeks before the first average fall frost for best results.
- C;oves need time to grow their garlic roots before winter arrives.
- Cloves should not have enough time to grow their stalks and leaves before frost sets in.
- Garlic will not grow well without 4–8 weeks of 40°F (4°C) temperatures.
In cold climates, late September might work better than October. In warmer areas, early November plantings may be best. Garlic does not grow well in all areas. The weather must dip below 40°F (4°C) for 4–8 weeks to trigger good growth in the spring.
Can Garlic Be Planted Any Time?
Garlic will only grow right when planted before winter. To start garlic bulbs, you plant a single garlic clove. Planting your garlic variety one month before frost arrives allows the roots to grow. Once it gets cold enough, your garlic will then go dormant for the winter.
- You must plant garlic cloves before the winter starts.
- The initial growing phase allows them to develop their root system.
- Garlic goes dormant as soon as temperatures fall near freezing.
- Starting garlic too early allows it to sprout and grow its stalk.
- Frost damage is a risk, so cover the plants with mulch for extra protection.
Garlic planted too early in the fall will start its vegetative growth cycle. The clove will sprout and push its stalk above the surface of the soil. This increases the risk of frost damage through the winter. You can prevent problems by covering the plants with a thick layer of mulch.
What Happens If You Plant Garlic in the Spring?
Spring-planted garlic will not grow big bulbs. In fact, the garlic may only sprout and grow a thin stalk. Sometimes, the individual cloves will not grow at all. The cloves must stay at or below 40°F (4°C) for 4–8 weeks in winter in order to grow properly in spring.
- Planting garlic in the spring prevents it from growing a big bulb.
- Garlic cloves planted in spring may only sprout and grow leaves if they grow at all.
- Garlic cloves need to stay at or below 40°F (4°C) for 4–8 weeks in winter to grow correctly in spring.
- The cold temperatures trigger the plant to split its clove into many cloves and grow a big bulb.
- Garlic stays dormant through the vernalization process, only resuming growth in the spring.
The cold temperatures trigger a process called vernalization. During that process, the garlic halts all physical growth. So, you won’t see anything happening above ground. Instead, the plant focuses on getting ready to split its single clove into many. Growth resumes in the spring as the cloves sprout and push through the soil surface. This process creates the largest bulbs, such as elephant garlic.
How Late Can You Plant Garlic?
December is the latest planting date for garlic. The cloves will have little time to develop their root systems. So, the late plantings could decrease the overall size of the garlic bulbs you harvest. Planting in December also decreases the chance that all your cloves will survive and grow in spring.
- The absolute latest planting date for garlic is December, but late autumn is ideal.
- Planting your garlic late gives your plants very little time to develop a root system.
- Late planting causes smaller bulbs and may also kill some of your garlic plants.
- Make up for the drawbacks of planting garlic late by putting extra cloves in your garden.
- Each plant will likely produce 6–7 usable cloves.
Plant extra cloves if you cannot avoid planting your garlic late. The excess will help make up for low survival rates and small bulb development. Reduce the planting space by a couple of inches to fit more into each row. The smaller bulbs will not need as much room to grow, after all. However, each plant should still produce six or seven cloves per bulb.
How Long Does It Take to Grow Garlic?
Garlic takes about nine months to grow. The first month jumpstarts the root growth. Then, garlic stays dormant through the winter while vernalization happens. By the last frost date, the garlic has already spent about five months in the ground.
- Garlic takes around nine months to reach maturity.
- The first month gives the root system time to develop.
- The next four months allow for vernalization through the winter.
- Four more months of growth lets the garlic grow its big bulbs.
- Harvest your garlic two weeks after the leaves start to turn yellow.
After garlic sprouts, it grows for up to four more months. You will likely want to harvest the bulbs in July. You can find the ideal harvest period by watching the leaves. They will start to turn yellow first to let you know the plant has finished growing. Stop all watering at that time and let the bulbs dry out for two more weeks. Then, it’s time for your garlic harvest.
When is the Best Time to Plant Garlic?
October is the best time to plant garlic. The exact timing depends on your area, however. Garlic cloves need about a month in the fall to develop their roots. They will go dormant in the winter months to undergo the vernalization process.
- Fall-planted garlic will give you the best results and larger bulbs.
- Your planting date should give the cloves one month to develop their roots before the first fall frost.
- Garlic goes dormant through the winter while vernalization happens.
- The cloves sprout in the spring and work on developing big bulbs.
- Harvest your garlic two weeks after the leaves begin to turn yellow.
In the springtime, the cloves will sprout and grow their stalks and leaves above ground. They will spend four more months developing big bulbs. You can harvest the garlic about two weeks after the leaves turn yellow.
With the right timing, your garlic will grow big bulbs by harvest time. Each bulb should give you at least seven cloves to enjoy. So, take the time to plan out your planting times to ensure you have delicious homegrown garlic to eat all year.