When To Plant Garlic In NY


The Best Time to Plant Garlic in New York

When it comes to planting garlic in New York, timing is everything. Garlic is a cool-season crop that requires a period of cold dormancy to develop its bulbs properly. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the ideal time for planting garlic to ensure a successful harvest. In New York, the best time to plant garlic is in the fall, typically between late September and early November.

Planting garlic in the fall allows the cloves to establish roots before winter arrives. During the cold months, the garlic bulbs will go through vernalization, a process in which they are exposed to a period of cold temperatures to stimulate optimal bulb growth. New York’s cold winters provide the perfect conditions for garlic to develop strong root systems and robust bulbs.

By planting in the fall, you give the garlic cloves ample time to establish themselves and grow strong roots, which will ultimately result in larger and healthier bulbs. Planting too early in the summer or late in the winter can disrupt this process and lead to subpar harvests.

In New York, the weather varies across different regions. It is essential to consider your specific location and microclimate when determining the best time to plant garlic. If you are in the northern parts of the state, planting garlic earlier in the fall may be advisable to ensure sufficient root development before the ground freezes. Conversely, if you are in the southern regions, you may have a longer window and can plant slightly later in the fall.

Overall, the key is to aim for a planting date that allows the garlic cloves to establish roots and undergo vernalization before the ground freezes. Pay attention to the average frost dates in your area and plan accordingly.

Now that you know the best time to plant garlic in New York, let’s explore the factors you should consider before getting started.

Factors to Consider Before Planting Garlic

Before you start planting garlic in your New York garden, there are several important factors to consider. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure the success and productivity of your garlic crop. Let’s dive into what you need to know:

1. Climate: New York has a diverse climate, with regions experiencing variations in temperature and precipitation. Understanding the specific climate in your area is crucial for selecting the right garlic varieties and determining the appropriate planting time.

2. Garlic Varieties: There are various types of garlic, including softneck and hardneck varieties. Each has its own unique characteristics and growing requirements. Softneck garlic is typically better suited to milder climates, while hardneck garlic thrives in colder regions like New York.

3. Soil Quality: Garlic thrives in well-drained, fertile soil. Before planting, assess the quality of your soil by conducting a soil test. This will help you understand if any amendments, such as organic matter or nutrients, are needed to create an ideal growing environment for garlic.

4. Sunlight Requirements: Garlic prefers full sun, requiring at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Ensure that your chosen planting location receives adequate sunlight to promote healthy growth and bulb development.

5. Crop Rotation: It is essential to practice crop rotation in your garden to prevent soil-borne diseases and pests. Avoid planting garlic in the same spot where other alliums, such as onions or leeks, were grown in the previous year.

6. Garlic Seed Quality: Selecting high-quality garlic seed is crucial for a successful crop. Purchase certified disease-free garlic bulbs from reputable sources or consider saving bulbs from your previous harvest.

7. Spacing and Planting Depth: Proper spacing and planting depth play a vital role in maximizing bulb size and yield. Provide adequate space between garlic cloves and plant them 2-4 inches deep, with the pointed end facing up.

8. Watering and Mulching: Garlic requires consistent moisture but can be susceptible to rot if overwatered. Mulching can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth around the garlic plants.

By considering these factors, you can set yourself up for success when planting garlic in New York. Now, let’s explore the types of garlic that you can grow in your garden!

Types of Garlic to Consider

When it comes to selecting the types of garlic to grow in your New York garden, you have a variety of options to choose from. Different garlic varieties offer distinct flavors, storage capabilities, and growth characteristics. Here are some popular types of garlic that you may consider:

1. Hardneck Garlic: Hardneck garlic varieties are well-suited for New York’s colder climate. They produce a central stalk known as a scape and often have larger cloves. Some popular hardneck varieties include Rocambole, Porcelain, and Purple Stripe.

2. Softneck Garlic: Softneck garlic is known for its flexibility and longer storage life. This type of garlic is typically easier to braid and is often preferred for culinary use. Softneck garlic varieties like Artichoke and Silverskin are suitable for growing in milder regions of New York.

3. Elephant Garlic: Despite its name, elephant garlic is actually a type of leek. It has a mild and sweet flavor, and its bulbs can grow to impressive sizes. While not considered a true garlic, elephant garlic can still be grown in New York gardens and used in various dishes.

4. Rocambole Garlic: Rocambole garlic is a popular hardneck variety known for its complex and rich flavor. It has a robust, spicy taste and is highly prized by garlic enthusiasts. This variety requires a longer growing season and performs well in New York’s colder climate.

5. Porcelain Garlic: Porcelain garlic varieties are known for their large and easy-to-peel cloves. They have a strong and bold flavor, making them ideal for cooking. Porcelain garlic can tolerate colder temperatures, making it a reliable choice for New York gardeners.

6. Silverskin Garlic: Silverskin garlic is a softneck variety that boasts a long shelf life and is perfect for braiding. It has a pungent and strong flavor that intensifies when cooked, making it a great choice for adding bold garlic flavor to your dishes.

7. Purple Stripe Garlic: As the name suggests, purple stripe garlic exhibits beautiful purple streaks on its bulb wrappers. It offers a robust flavor with spicy undertones and is a favorite among garlic connoisseurs. Purple stripe garlic is well-suited for New York’s climate.

Consider your personal taste preferences and your garden’s growing conditions when selecting garlic varieties. Some varieties may perform better in certain regions of New York due to variations in temperature and other environmental factors. Experiment with different types to discover your favorites!

Now that you have an idea of the garlic varieties to consider, let’s move on to the next crucial step: preparing the soil for planting garlic in New York.

Preparing the Soil for Planting Garlic

Preparing the soil is an essential step to ensure the success of your garlic crop in New York. By providing optimal growing conditions, you can encourage healthy root development and abundant bulb growth. Here are the steps to prepare the soil for planting garlic:

1. Clear the Area: Start by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area. Garlic prefers a clean and weed-free environment to thrive.

2. Test the Soil: Conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content of your soil. Garlic prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If necessary, make amendments based on the soil test recommendations to ensure optimal growing conditions.

3. Add Organic Matter: Garlic benefits from the addition of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. Incorporate a generous amount of organic matter into the soil to improve its structure, drainage, and nutrient content.

4. Loosen the Soil: Garlic bulbs need loose and well-drained soil to develop properly. Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 8-12 inches. This helps create a favorable environment for root growth and bulb formation.

5. Incorporate Fertilizer: Garlic is a heavy feeder and requires adequate nutrients for optimal growth. Before planting, add a balanced fertilizer or a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil based on the package instructions or soil test recommendations.

6. Consider Raised Beds: If your soil has poor drainage or is heavy in clay, consider planting garlic in raised beds. Raised beds provide better drainage and prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other diseases.

7. Level the Soil: After incorporating organic matter and fertilizer, level the soil surface using a rake. This ensures an even planting bed for your garlic cloves.

8. Create Planting Furrows or Raised Rows: Depending on your planting preference, either create individual furrows or raised rows for planting the garlic cloves. Furrows should be approximately 3-4 inches deep, and rows should be spaced 12-18 inches apart.

With the soil properly prepared, you are now ready to proceed with choosing the right location for planting garlic in New York.

Choosing the Right Location for Garlic

When it comes to growing garlic in New York, selecting the right location is crucial for a successful harvest. Garlic thrives in specific environmental conditions that promote healthy growth and bulb development. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing the right location for planting garlic:

1. Sunlight: Garlic requires full sun exposure to thrive. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid areas that are shaded by trees or buildings as this can impede the growth of your garlic plants.

2. Soil Drainage: Garlic prefers well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Avoid planting in areas with compacted or clayey soil that retains excessive moisture. If your soil drains poorly, consider improving drainage by incorporating organic matter or creating raised beds.

3. Soil pH: Garlic grows best in slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Test the soil pH and make adjustments if necessary to provide optimal growing conditions for your garlic plants.

4. Air Circulation: Good air circulation around your garlic plants helps prevent fungal diseases. Avoid planting garlic in areas that are prone to stagnant air, such as tight corners or low-lying spots in the garden.

5. Protection from Wind: While air circulation is important, excessive wind can damage or uproot your garlic plants. Choose a location that provides some protection from strong winds, such as near a fence or windbreak.

6. Accessibility to Water: Garlic requires consistent moisture throughout the growing season, particularly during bulb formation. Ensure that the chosen location has access to a water source or is easily irrigated to provide adequate hydration for your plants.

7. Crop Rotation: Rotate your crops by avoiding planting garlic in the same location where other alliums, such as onions or leeks, were grown in the previous year. This helps prevent the accumulation of soil-borne diseases and pests.

8. Companion Planting: Consider companion planting garlic with other crops that can benefit from its natural pest-repellent properties. Plants like tomatoes, peppers, and roses can benefit from the presence of garlic in close proximity.

By considering these factors, you can identify the perfect location in your New York garden to grow garlic. Once you have chosen the right location, it’s time to move on to the next step: learning how to plant garlic!

How to Plant Garlic in New York

Planting garlic in New York is a relatively straightforward process that requires careful attention to detail. By following these steps, you can ensure successful garlic growth and a bountiful harvest:

1. Prepare the Garlic Cloves: Before planting, separate the garlic bulb into individual cloves. Choose the largest and healthiest cloves as they will produce the biggest bulbs. Leave the thin papery skin intact while removing the outermost layers.

2. Determine Planting Depth: Garlic cloves should be planted 2-4 inches deep, depending on their size. Place the cloves in the planting furrows or raised rows, pointed end facing up. Space the cloves 4-6 inches apart within the row. Ensure that the planting area has proper spacing to allow for healthy bulb development.

3. Plant the Cloves: Gently press each clove into the soil with the flat part down and the pointed end facing upwards. Plant them at the recommended depth, making sure they are fully covered with soil. Lightly firm the soil around the cloves to ensure good soil-to-clove contact.

4. Mulch the Area: After planting, apply a layer of organic mulch around the garlic plants. Mulching helps retain soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Use materials like straw, chopped leaves, or compost to create a layer about 2-4 inches thick.

5. Water the Garlic: Give the newly planted garlic cloves a thorough watering to settle the soil around them. Make sure the soil is evenly moist, but avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to rot. Water regularly throughout the growing season, especially during dry periods.

6. Monitor and Weed: Keep a close eye on your garlic plants and remove any weeds that compete for nutrients and space. Regular weeding helps prevent weed competition and ensures your garlic plants receive the necessary resources for healthy growth.

7. Fertilize as Needed: Monitor the growth of your garlic plants and fertilize as needed throughout the growing season. Apply a balanced fertilizer, following the package instructions, to provide sufficient nutrients for optimal bulb development.

8. Remove Scapes: Hardneck garlic varieties produce scapes, which are curly flower stalks. To redirect the plant’s energy to bulb formation, remove the scapes when they emerge. Use the scapes in cooking for a delicious garlic-flavored addition to your meals.

9. Monitor Diseases and Pests: Regularly inspect your garlic plants for signs of diseases or pests. Common garlic diseases include white rot, fusarium rot, and garlic rust. If detected, take appropriate measures to control the issue and prevent further spread.

10. Harvesting: Garlic is typically ready for harvesting when the leaves turn yellow or brown and begin to dry out. Gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and carefully lift them out of the ground. Allow the harvested garlic bulbs to dry in a well-ventilated area for a few weeks before storing.

By following these steps, you can successfully plant and grow garlic in New York. With proper care and maintenance, you’ll soon be enjoying flavorful homegrown garlic in your culinary creations!

Mulching and Watering Garlic Plants

Mulching and proper watering are essential for the successful growth of garlic plants in New York. These practices help maintain moisture levels, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and ultimately contribute to healthier bulb development. Here are some guidelines for mulching and watering garlic plants:


After planting garlic cloves, apply a layer of organic mulch around the plants. Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, preventing it from drying out too quickly. It also regulates soil temperature, keeping it cooler during hot summer months and providing insulation during colder periods. Additionally, mulch acts as a barrier, suppressing weed growth and reducing competition for nutrients.

Use organic materials like straw, chopped leaves, or compost to create a mulch layer around 2-4 inches thick. Apply the mulch once the soil has warmed up after planting and the garlic plants have started to emerge. Make sure to leave a small space around the base of the plants to prevent excessive moisture on the stems, which can lead to rot.


Garlic plants require consistent moisture to ensure proper growth and bulb development. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid overwatering, as garlic bulbs can be susceptible to rot in excessively wet conditions. Here are some watering tips for garlic plants:

1. Watering Frequency: Garlic plants generally require about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall. Ensure that the soil is evenly moist but not saturated. Monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust the watering frequency accordingly to maintain adequate moisture without waterlogging the plants.

2. Irrigation: If rainfall is insufficient, supplement the moisture by irrigating the garlic plants. Apply water at the base of the plants rather than overhead to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are ideal for delivering water directly to the soil without wetting the leaves.

3. Timing of Watering: Water garlic plants in the morning to allow the foliage to dry before evening. Wet foliage overnight can promote fungal diseases. Avoid watering late in the day to minimize the amount of time the foliage remains damp.

4. Adjust for Rainfall: During periods of heavy rainfall, adjust the watering frequency to prevent overwatering. Conversely, in dry spells, increase watering to ensure the soil moisture remains consistent.

By mulching your garlic plants and providing proper watering, you can create an optimal growing environment that encourages healthy growth and enhances the flavor and size of the garlic bulbs. The next section will dive into care and maintenance tips for growing garlic in New York.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Growing Garlic in New York

Growing garlic in New York requires regular care and maintenance to ensure healthy plants and a successful harvest. By following these tips, you can maximize the growth and yield of your garlic crop:

1. Regularly Weed: Keep the area around your garlic plants free from weeds. Weeds can compete with garlic for nutrients, water, and sunlight, resulting in stunted growth. Regularly remove any weeds that emerge, taking care not to disturb the garlic plants’ delicate roots.

2. Monitor Moisture Levels: Garlic plants require consistent moisture throughout their growing season. Monitor soil moisture levels and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Be cautious not to overwater, as garlic bulbs can be susceptible to rot in excessively wet conditions.

3. Fertilize as Needed: Garlic is a heavy feeder, so ensure it receives adequate nutrients. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or organic compost to the soil at the time of planting. If necessary, supplement with a side-dressing of nitrogen-rich fertilizer during the growing season to support healthy foliage and bulb development.

4. Remove Flower Stalks (Scapes): Hardneck garlic varieties produce flower stalks called scapes. To redirect the plant’s energy towards bulb development, it is crucial to remove these scapes when they appear. Cut the scapes close to the base of the plant, and enjoy them in culinary dishes for their delicious garlicky flavor.

5. Monitor for Pests and Diseases: Regularly inspect your garlic plants for signs of pests or diseases. Common pests include aphids, onion maggots, and nematodes, while common diseases include white rot and fusarium rot. Take prompt action if you notice any issues, such as using organic pest control methods or removing and destroying infected plants to prevent the spread of diseases.

6. Provide Support for Tall Varieties: Some garlic varieties, particularly hardneck types, can grow tall and develop top-heavy foliage. To prevent the plants from falling over, gently tie them together using twine or stakes for support. This ensures proper airflow and reduces the risk of disease in crowded foliage.

7. Harvest at the Right Time: Time your garlic harvest carefully. Harvesting is typically done when the foliage turns yellow or brown and starts to dry out. Gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and carefully lift them from the ground. Allow the harvested garlic bulbs to dry in a well-ventilated and shaded area before storing.

8. Practice Crop Rotation: After harvesting your garlic, practice crop rotation by avoiding planting garlic in the same spot for at least three years. This helps prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases and pests, ensuring healthier garlic crops in the future.

By implementing these care and maintenance practices, you can nurture your garlic plants throughout the growing season and enjoy a rewarding harvest of flavorful and aromatic garlic bulbs.

Harvesting and Storing Garlic

Harvesting garlic at the right time and storing it properly is crucial for preserving its flavor and quality. Here are the steps to follow for harvesting and storing your garlic crop in New York:

1. Timing the Harvest: Garlic is typically ready for harvest when the foliage turns yellow or brown and begins to dry out. This usually occurs in mid to late summer, depending on the garlic variety and growing conditions. Avoid waiting too long, as overripe garlic may split or begin to rot.

2. Lift the Garlic Bulbs: Gently loosen the soil around the garlic bulbs using a garden fork or shovel. Carefully lift the bulbs from the ground, taking care not to damage them. Avoid pulling the plants by their stems, as this can cause bruising or separation from the bulbs.

3. Cure the Garlic: After harvesting, it is crucial to cure the garlic to promote drying and enhance flavor. Lay the garlic bulbs in a single layer in a well-ventilated and shaded area with good air circulation. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the cloves to become bitter. Allow the bulbs to cure for about two to four weeks or until the foliage and outer wrappers have completely dried.

4. Trim and Clean: Once the garlic bulbs have cured, gently remove any dried leaves and roots. Be careful not to remove too many layers of the bulb wrappers, as they help protect the cloves during storage. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any excess dirt or debris, ensuring the bulbs are clean and ready for storage.

5. Choose the Best Bulbs for Storage: Select the largest, healthiest bulbs for long-term storage. Set aside any smaller or damaged ones for immediate use, as they may not store as well.

6. Store in a Cool, Dark, and Dry Location: To maintain garlic’s quality, store the cured bulbs in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated location. Ideal storage conditions include a temperature range of 40 to 60°F (4 to 15°C) and relative humidity around 60-70%. A pantry, cellar, or basement can be suitable storage areas, as long as they meet these conditions.

7. Use Proper Storage Methods: There are several storage methods to consider for garlic. You can hang the garlic in braids or bunches, store them in mesh bags or woven baskets, or place them in well-ventilated containers. Avoid storing garlic in plastic bags or airtight containers, as this can promote mold or moisture buildup.

8. Regularly Check and Use Stored Garlic: Periodically check the stored garlic for any signs of spoiling. Remove any bulbs that show signs of mold or rot to prevent the spread to other bulbs. Throughout the storage period, use the stored garlic regularly to enjoy its flavor and make room for the next garlic harvest.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure the long-term storage of your garlic harvest, allowing you to enjoy homegrown garlic well beyond the harvest season.