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Garlic 101 -When and Where to Plant Garlic

When and Where to Plant Garlic?

  • Garlic is normally planted in fall in Canada. Some gardeners have a different opinion, they believe that garlic can be planted in early spring. This is somewhat true, but fall is more reliable than spring. There are 2 main reasons

    1. Hardneck garlic needs the winter temperatures to trigger their internal growth hormones that it is time to grow and bulk up in size. Garlic needs between 4 to 6 weeks of cold temperature below 4.4ºC - 7.2ºC (40ºF - 45ºF) to trigger its bulb size growth. This requirement for the cold temperature process is called vernalisation. Softneck garlics do not require a lot of vernalisation which is why they grow better in the South or warmer climates.

    2. Plant garlic before the ground go through its first hard freeze. Hardneck garlic needs about 4 to 6 weeks before the ground starts to freeze for growing its root. Remember micro-climates can make a difference in borderline areas. It is a lot cooler at higher grounds.

Below is the Canada's Plant Hardiness Zones. It can provide a guideline on when to plant your garlic in your area.

General Guidelines for Garlic Planting:

Zones 0a-3a: (if no permafrost): Plant garlic in early to late September. Garlic can grow well in cold climates including some parts of Yukon or Northwest Territories.

Zone 3b-5a: Plant garlic between late September to early October.

Zones 5b-7a: Plant in mid to late October.

Zones 7b-8a: Plant between late October into November.

Zones 8b-9a: Plant from late October into December. Make sure to select garlic only softnecks that need less cold vernalisation to develop bulbs.

Garlic Planting Chart

  • When we were growing garlic between 2015 to 2019 in Fenwick Ontario (zone 6b), early October was the planting month, but that’s changing with rainy weather and milder winters. We now plant garlic between late September to early October or even November. Just do not let your garlic cloves dry out before planting.

  • Garlic needs full sun exposure for growth & as well as good soil drainage. Garlic cloves rots in wet soil and shady areas. Work in some composted sheep or cow manure. Garlic can grow in any type of soil as long as fertiliser is placed in the planting hole.

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