Here in the Ozarks of Missouri, the days are just about as perfect as it gets. Cool mornings with sparkling dew on the grass, deep blue skies, and warm days. October is my favorite month of the year and I try to spend as much time outside as I can…especially time with the horses and time in the garden. And October is the month for planting garlic!
The fall garden is, in my opinion, even more fun than the spring garden. Where the spring garden is exciting, seeing green again and things growing after a long winter rest, the fall garden is abundant; with fewer bugs and prettier weather. The tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and okra are still going strong from the spring and summer garden, and the fall plantings of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, spinach, and herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, and oregano are all growing more every day.
Some garden additions are best when planted in the fall, with the winter chill setting the flavor and improving growth. Garlic is one of those late fall favorites. My grandmother always said to plant garlic in the fall, sometime around October. Garlic can be planted in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked, but fall planted garlic tends to have bigger bulbs and more intense flavor. As a general rule of thumb, plant garlic about 4-6 weeks before the expected first frost.
If you’re wanting to try growing your own garlic, be sure to get organic garlic starts from a seed catalog or from a friend who grew garlic rather than from the store. Most commercial garlic is treated to prevent sprouting. Plant about 4 inches apart, 2 inches deep with the flat side down and the pointed side up. If you live in colder climates, we recommend mulching heavily as garlic doesn’t fare as well if the soil temperature drops below 20 degrees F.
Garlic is one of those super easy additions to the garden and tastes so much better when home-grown! Great for a wide variety of culinary and medicinal uses, garlic is worth adding to your garden.