October is garlic planting time

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, October 22, 2022

By Carrie Spry

Clark County Cooperative Extension Office

With ghosts, goblins, and vampires on the prowl in October, it’s the perfect time to plant your garlic for next spring. According to European folklore, garlic has long been viewed as a way to ward off vampires. Whether that is fact or fiction, one thing is sure: October is the time to plant garlic. Planting in the fall produces larger bulbs and more complex flavors. Garlic enhances food recipes and is considered traditional medicine in some cultures.     

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Garlic is best planted in the fall for harvesting next spring, usually in June. Nothing stores better after harvest than garlic because it is largely not affected by pests or diseases.

Place your garlic cloves in full sun and a well-drained, fertile site. Mix some organic matter like compost into the soil to provide more nutrients and to increase drainage. Plant cloves about 2 inches deep in the soil with the pointed end of the clove turned up. Before planting, you should do a soil test to ensure your pH levels are between 6.0 and 6.5. Adding shredded leaves or straw on top will protect the cloves from cold winter and retain soil moisture. Be sure to put your garlic in the corner of your garden or a space where you won’t be planting next spring. Each garlic clove should be planted six inches apart and produce a new head with six to eight cloves at harvest. You don’t need to plant a lot of garlic because a little will go a long way.

There are three types of garlic, the softneck, hardneck, and elephant garlic. The softneck has two types, the artichoke, and silver skin. Both are common garlic types sold in the supermarket, and you have likely used them. The hardneck has large cloves, is easy to peel, and has more intense flavor than softnecks. It also has a flower scape or flowering stem. Elephant garlic is a third type but is actually a member of the onion family and is considered a variant of the leek.