How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

Protect Your Garden from Vampires: How to Grow Garlic

As we get ready for Halloween, now’s the perfect time to think about naturally vampire-proofing your garden, which means it’s time to grow garlic! Planting garlic around the perimeter will protect your veggie beds from getting trampled by nighttime intruders who vant to suck your bloooood.How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

In all seriousness, it’s a good reminder to plant garlic when you start thinking about Halloween. At least, that’s the case here in Vancouver.  If you live elsewhere, a rule of thumb is that garlic should be planted between 3 and 6 weeks before the ground freezes. This ensures that there is enough time for the roots to develop. The moisture and cold of the soil will wake the bulb from dormancy and start this process. After that, growth is slow and a thick skin (figuratively) is necessary to make it through the winter. Next spring the leaves will sprout and grow until harvest time next summer. For more on summer harvesting and cooking with garlic scapesclick here.

Choose Your Bulbs

When planting garlic in your garden, it’s best to use heads grown specifically for planting. Store-bought garlic can carry disease or be treated with chemicals. Both of these can be difficult to remove from your soil once planted. Buy seed from a reliable source like a seed company or farmer’s market vendor that you trust. I also do this when Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds.How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

Site Selection

Garlic likes a sunny location and needs only enough room for the bulbs to reach full size. Space plants around 6” apart and they should have enough room. Space them farther apart for large bulbs and closer together for smaller ones.

Garlic is perfect planted at the back of a border or vegetable garden. When selecting a location, keep in mind that the bulbs won’t be fully matured and ready for harvest until summer.

Soil Preparation

Get soil ready for planting by mixing in some yummy compost, then covering with a layer of good quality top soil. Garlic will do well in loose, nutrient-rich soil with good drainage. I mixed in my own compost and topped it off with SEA SOIL, a high quality top soil made of composed bark and fish waste.

Planting

Break apart your garlic head into cloves just before planting.  This ensures that the nodes at the bottom don’t dry out and can set roots quickly.How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

Each clove will have a pointy top end were the stem and laves will grow from, and a wider, flat part on the bottom. This bottom part is where the roots will form.

How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

Dig a hole and plant the clove tip side up so that the tip is 2” below the surface.How to plant garlic outdoors in the fall garden. Garlic gets planted before the first frost of the year and overwinters in the garden.

Cover with soil and mulch to conserve moisture and nutrients over winter. A good mulch for the winter is a layer of leaves covered by a layer of cardboard. Just don’t forget to remove the cardboard in early spring so the leaves and stems can grow up through the soil.

Bookmark These

Next summer, your garlic will be in full swing and ready to be harvested. You can first cut the scapes and use them in recipes, then harvest the bulbs and dry them:

Making Garlic Braids

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. narf7
    narf7February 2,13

    I love garlic with a passion! I don’t think a day goes by without using at least half a bulb of the glorious stuff but growing it is another matter here on Serendipity Farm. It might keep the vampires away BUT it actively encourages the wallabies who ADORE all things allium. They ate my chives, they eat my garlic and despite my best efforts, unless the garlic is enclosed somewhere it never manages to keep more than a few centimetres of greenery. I have planted all of my garlic out in old tyres now and have had to cover it with wire mesh to give it a bit of protection…the things that we gardeners will do to grow something of worth in our gardens! ;)

  2. Katie
    KatieJuly 11,13

    I planted garlic about 2 months ago which would have been may, will it still be good or was I wasting my time. If good, when can I pull up to use?

  3. Stephanie
    StephanieJuly 11,13

    Hi Katie, I hate to say it but probably it will not produce heads. Of course it depends where you live and your climate. You could harvest the green bits and eat it as green garlic or perhaps just leave it and see what it does. But if there us a frost later this year the leaves won’t survive. Keep us updated!

  4. Kat White
    Kat WhiteNovember 3,13

    Just got the garlic in the ground yesterday!

  5. Alicea
    AliceaOctober 15,14

    Will planting garlic in my yard keep the gophers and moles away?

    • Stephanie
      StephanieOctober 20,14

      Hi Alicea, I posted your question on our Facebook page and the community reports that no, garlic will not keep critters away. Just vampires.

  6. Dana
    DanaOctober 29,16

    What if I live somewhere where the ground doesn’t freeze? Can I still grow garlic?

  7. Casa Mariposa
    Casa MariposaNovember 2,16

    Excellent post! I love the clever title. :) Do you ever let your garlic go to seed for the pollinators? Does that affect taste? I’d love to have you join us at the 2017 Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling. Check out my website for more info: http://ts-casamariposa.blogspot.com/

  8. Sharon
    SharonNovember 15,16

    Great tutorial!! I didn’t know garlic was planted right before a freeze.

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