Planting Garlic in Fall or Spring

The best time to plant Hard neck Garlic is in the fall, but if for whatever reason that does not work out for you it can still be planted mid winter or also in the spring. This all of coarse depends on the ability to work the soil. The reason for planting in the fall, about 4 to 8 weeks before the first frost is so that the cloves will have sufficient time to develop a healthy root system before the first frost. This timing can be tricky as we want the time for root growth to happen before the first frost, but we want little to no leaf growth above ground before the cold winter weather arrives. When the cold weather does arrive the plants will go dormant until it warms up and then the garlic plants shoot up very quickly due to the pre winter root development. If you miss the fall window to plant you can wait for a break in the winter weather and if it warms up for a few days so that you can get the cloves in the ground you can do that. You can check online for your specific growing zone


If you do not get a break in the winter weather and have to wait until spring, plant as early in the spring as you possibly can. Garlic cloves have to go thru a period of VERNALIZATION. Vernalization is a process were thru exposure to an extended period of cold the garlic clove changes so when it starts to bulb up it will grow into a bulb made up of a number of cloves. When you plant in the spring, Vernalization may and often does happen naturally but you can also trick your cloves into Vernalization by putting them into your refrigerator for about 4 weeks before planting. Put them in a container or bag with holes in it to allow for moisture to escape so they do not mold. Generally you will get smaller size bulbs and or some rounds which are perfectly edible because of the shortened growing season. If you watch your plants closely and fertilize appropriately as needed they will do well.


One of the biggest setbacks with Spring planting is finding good seed bulbs. If you missed the fall window but plan to plant in the spring buy your bulbs and store them. They have to have been cured well to last until spring. We generally will have some seed bulbs left after Christmas of one of our signature cultivars Green Acres Red Russian which we grow a lot of. We also usually have some rounds of all of the different cultivars we grow left over. if you have questions either email or text or call 604-316-1933.