October is the best time of year to grow garlic in gardens. Garlic producers choose to grow garlic because the plant is easy to grow and requires little growing area. What's better, garlic can be grown in mild and cold climates.
Garlic varieties are classified as Softneck and Hardneck. Softneck garlic grows in mild temperatures whereas Hardneck garlic can handle cold temperatures. Most garlic available is Hardneck, and is noticeable by the stiff stem and scape.
When choosing to plant and grow garlic, it's best to choose local varieties that can handle the planting zone where gardeners reside. Most garlic varieties found in grocery stores are imported from China. It's best to stay local and buy from garlic producers.
Tips for planting and growing garlic
It's important to till and test the soil before planting. The soil will need to be well-drained and requires pH levels between 6.0 and 7.0. Direct sunlight is required for growing garlic. Garlic cloves should receive 2 inches of compost to help control weeds and moisture; and will need to be spaced 6-8 inches apart (hand-width). As with other plants, watering garlic cloves will help garlic grow quicker and healthier. Sandy soils will require more frequent watering. Stop watering two weeks before harvesting.
Garlic is a great plant to grow this fall and is a deer-resistant herb that deer hate smelling and tasting! Apply garlic bulbs around the garden as a secondary layer of garden protection around a deer fence for deer management.