Garlic Planting Chart: When Should I Plant Garlic?
One mistake many garlic growers make is to plant garlic at the wrong time. In our experience most people err on the side of planting too soon in the fall. Planting garlic at the proper time will result in bigger bulbs.
Picture: Chesnok Red garlic bulbs hatching a few free range eggs. Sadly, the idea of the Easter Garlic delivering eggs never really caught on.
Use our simple method to decide when to plant garlic cloves.
Check out the USDA chart below to determine your climate zone. Or go to the UDSA site to see a cool interactive map which will tell you your climate zone based on your zip code and hair color (just kidding about the hair color). You may want to order your garlic to arrive a little earlier than you need it if you have variable winter weather.
General Guidelines for Garlic Planting:
Zones 0-3 (if no permafrost): Plant garlic in early to late September. Garlic can grow well in cold climates including some parts of Alaska.
Zone 3-5: Plant garlic in late September to early October.
Zones 5-7: Plant in mid to late October.
Zones 7-9: Plant in late October into November.
Zones 9-10: Plant from late October into December. Make sure to select garlic types (like softnecks) that need less cold vernalization to develop bulbs.
|Climate Zone||Earliest Planting Date||Latest Planting Date|
|0-3||Late August to early September||Late September|
|3-5||Mid to late September||Early to mid October|
|5-7||Early to mid October||Late October|
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2012. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed from http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov.
More Complicated Methods to Determine Garlic Planting Time:
Plant before ground freezes: Basically, you want to plant your hardneck garlic about 4-6 weeks before the ground starts to freeze. This gives the garlic clove time for root development in the fall. Contact your state extension service to determine average soil temperatures in your area. Remember microclimates make a difference in marginal areas. It is a lot cooler at higher elevations.
Garlic cloves need cold temperatures to root: Hardneck garlic needs 4-6 weeks of cold temperature below 40-45 F to develop bulbs. This is called vernalization. Softneck garlics are not as picky about vernalization which is why they grow better in the South. If you live in the South, please read this guide to Southern garlic growing and order your garlic to ship in October. This way, the garlic will have an extra month of curing (vernalizing) in our nice cold garlic barn and will be ready to grow roots when you receive them.
Planting too early results in poor growth and bulbing: You don't want to plant too early or the garlic may have poor bulb development or cloves may rot. Cold temperatures prompt the garlic clove to start growing roots. If you plant too early the garlic will not develop roots until it gets cold. Meanwhile the clove is sitting in the ground not growing and susceptible to disease, fungus or hungry voles. Exposure to really hot weather in fall can reverse the vernalization process and result in smaller bulbs. We usually plant after the first killing frost.
My weather is really variable or I worry a lot: We don't want you to get stressed out worrying about your garlic order. Order your garlic for an earlier time period so it will be there when you decide to plant.