Planting Garlic in the Fall

Garlic is often spring planted but, if you have a choice on planting dates, choose the fall. In fact, September is the perfect month, on the Prairies, for planting garlic. 

There are a several reasons why September and October are great garlic planting months:

  • First, garlic requires a cold treatment before it will develop bulbs. In fact, it needs several weeks of low temperatures to "break dormancy" before it is capable of producing its pungent cloves. 
  • Secondly, after a sufficient period of cold exposure, long days also contribute to bulb initiation and development. But bulb size depends—to a great extent—on how much foliage the garlic plant has before the onset of long days in spring. Fall planting gives the cold-tolerant garlic a jump-start come spring with foliage emerging when many garden plants are still dormant.

If you are planning on planting some garlic this fall, here how to do it: mix some SeaSoil into your garden soil, then plant the cloves 6–10cm deep. Finish by covering the soil with a thin layer of hemp mulch. Throughout the fall, the soil should be moist but never saturated.

"‘Hard neck" rather than "soft neck" types are best for our region although there are a few soft neck varieties that grow well here. If you have the space (and garlic doesn’t need much space) try several varieties to see which you like best.