Fall is the best time to plant garlic
In New England, garlic grows best when planted in the fall. Some growers plant it in September; others as late as mid-October.
Begin by breaking up dry garlic heads into individual cloves amidst. Prepare beds by removing all weeds and raking to a smooth surface. Lay down soaker hoses at fall planting if you plan to use them next summer.Use a dibble to make a hole 3-4″ deep. Plant garlic 2” to 3” deep at 6” spacing. Stagger rows for maximum yield per bed, being sure to maintain that spacing in all directions. Cover garlic with soil or let the first rain push soil into the dibbled holes.
Garlic may grow as much as 4-6″ in a mild fall. Once the ground freezes, mulch the garlic bed with 1″ to 1.5” of non-matting straw as winter mulch. Avoid hay with weed seeds. The mulch prevents the sun from warming soil surfaces to prevent a thaw/freeze cycle and winter heaving.
In spring, top dress with blood meal per soil test recommendations. Keep beds weed-free all season. Weed competition will lead to smaller bulbs. Water during dry periods. Stop watering when the top leaves begin to brown and die back in mid-summer and prepare to harvest garlic.
NOFA/RI will host a CRAFT workshop on garlic, shallots, onions and more at New Urban Farmers on Wednesday, September 10. Learn more about this workshop, All About Alliums here.
Read about Garlic Planting Day at Plato’s Harvest Organic Farm in nearby Middleboro, MA here.