Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time for Planting Garlic

The harvests from summer crops in home vegetable gardens have begun to slow down, and some gardeners have been busy replacing their heat-loving tomatoes and peppers with vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage that thrive in cooler weather. For those gardeners who still have a little room for fall vegetables, or will have some room as soon as they dig up their sweet potatoes, garlic is a crop that can be planted now through November.

Garlic planted now - in early fall - will have plenty of time to develop through the cooler days ahead and in advance of bulb-formation. According to the UGA Extension publication Garlic Production for the Home Gardener,

"The reason that garlic is planted in the fall in Georgia is to permit full leaf development. As soon as bulbing starts, leaf initiation ceases. For highest yields, therefore, the cloves must be planted early enough to permit the development of large vegetative plants during the short cool days of late winter. The yield potential of the plants depends on the amount of vegetative growth before bulbing commences. Bulb growth and development in the garlic plant is favored by long days and warm temperatures."
As with most garden vegetables, soil preparation is key to successful production, but garlic especially benefits from a bed that's been well-amended with organic matter if the garden's soil is a heavy clay. Garlic grown in clay, according to the UGA publication, can become misshapen and difficult to harvest.

Gardeners interested in growing garlic this year can check the UGA publication linked above for full information on varieties, planting, care, and harvest-information.