NEW INFO - to avoid Blue Mold Rot (Penicillium spp.) it is best to plant later in the fall, rather than earlier. This is one of the most common fungus diseases of stored garlic and onions. It overwinters on infected cloves, not in the soil, and it infects in warm 22-25oC (72-77oF), dry conditions.
If you plant healthy garlic cloves (inspect each carefully for signs of the characteristic blue-green mold) and plant after the soil has become cold and wet (later October) there is little likelihood of infection. Apparently all you procrastinating gardeners have been doing yourselves a favour…
( thanks to Linda Gilkeson for this information)
Choosing the right bulb for planting
Ideally, begin with organically-grown garlic from B.C. This is easily found at farmer’s markets and at fine food stores that stock organic produce. Select bulbs with large cloves—a larger-sized clove will grow a bigger plant, which ideally will yield a larger bulb. Just like tulip bulbs: the little bitty ones don’t make a big flower. It’s the same with garlic.
Choosing the right place and time
Figure out where you’re going to plant your garlic at this time, paying attention to where the sun is. You’re going to be planting sometime during October which you can stretch to early November. Earlier is best in terms of your own comfort as the soil is usually more pleasant to work with earlier than later, and garlic needs to have a cold period in the soil in order to produce well.
You’ll need about six inches between cloves (plants). The garlic needs to take in nourishment for nine months from that soil so give it some space, do pick the sunniest spot you have in your garden.
Prepping the soil
Garlic likes well-drained soil. If the area is boggy, if there is moss or frogbit (little fungal-looking growths like on top of plant pots in garden centres sometimes) don’t plant garlic there either.Before planting, add a modest amount of manure, compost, SeaSoil or something simlar.
How to plant
Make a narrow trench using your hands or a dull instrument about 4” deep in the soil. There is NO need to double-dig or disturb the intricate layers that worms and other critters have been spending lifetimes to create. Disassemble your garlic heads into cloves, do not peel the clove before planting. It’s a little bulb, like a tulip or daffodil bulb and needs that hard papery coat to protect it from what’s going on underneath the soil: critters, dampness, various soil-borne effects
Place the clove, pointy side up
Cover with a generous two inches of soil, or a scant three inches. pat down the soil lightly. Unless rain is predicted, water your garlic lightly.
Remember to label
Important: put a label or stick in next to your future garlic, indicating what you have done; mark the different varieties here or record them somewhere
Cover with rose or other thorn prunings to protect the garlic from digging paws, mulch with leaves which will decompose over winter and spring and add their goodness, and you are done until next summer.
- reprinted with permission from MG Sharon Hanna