How to plant garlic
If you are in zone 7 now is the time to plant your garlic. I usually plant my garlic around mid November but this year we had an early frost so I am getting it planted before the ground freezes.
Garlic can be planted in spring but you won't get nice big bulbs. For this reason it is best to plant it in fall so you can harvest it in late spring/early summer.
Garlic is really one of the easiest and low maintenance crops I grow. Weed pressure and water demands are low during this time of the year. I plant the garlic and usually forget to do anything with it until spring when I fertilize, weed and mulch as needed.
Garlic comes in two varieties: hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck garlic produces a scape (flowering bud) and that is what I grow. It does best in Southern gardens. Regardless of what variety you grow, the planting instructions are the same.
You can grow garlic in pots but I am only experienced growing it in ground so that is what I will detail here.
I rotate the beds where I grow garlic each year.
Pull all old plants/weeds and rake them off the bed.
using a garden fork or tiller, break up the top 4-6 inches of soil.
Sprinkle fertilizer over the soil (I typically use triple 8)
rake it smooth.
Preparing garlic for planting:
You can buy special garlic for planting or use grocery store garlic for planting. I've used both with great results.
Select bulbs that are firm when pressed and are disease free.
Gently separate the cloves being careful not to damage the pointy end of the garlic and also keeping as much of the paper covering intact.
I plant my garlic about 3 inches apart in every direction. This gives the bulbs plenty of space to grow and not compete too much for nutrition and water. I use a measuring tape to make sure I am not planting them too close.
Using your finger or a small garden tool, poke a hole about 2inches deep and drop the clove in it (pointy side up).
I sometimes forget where I planted the last clove so I usually will poke holes and drop the garlic in but not cover up until I am ready to move to a different spot on the row. Once you have all the garlic planted, cover the holes with dirt.
I water the bed really well and mulch it with either dried leaves or hay.
That is it! Now you wait until the green shoots of the garlic poke through the soil/mulch layer.
Since we live in the south and our winters are relatively mild our garlic grows slowly all through the winter but really takes of when weather warms up in early spring.
I fertilize again in early spring (typically in early March) and every 3-4 weeks after that.
Garlic is really one of the easiest but the most rewarding crop I grow.