Garlic overwinters well, especially in our temperate climate. Planting it in late October gives it time to establish its root system before winter sets in, and then the tops will start growing quickly in spring.
I really love hard neck garlic, but Brett likes soft neck, so we planted both. (Soft neck is like what you get at the grocery store, with large cloves surrounding small cloves; hard neck garlic has a stiff central stem that all the cloves grow around.)
|Cloves broken apart and ready for planting. Hard neck is in the paper bag, soft neck in the basket.|
I prefer hard neck because it often has a more pungent flavor, and because it will grow scapes.
If you've never had garlic scapes - the curly tops of hard-neck garlic with a small, bulb-like bud - you are really missing out. They have a soft, mild garlicky flavor and are amazing sauteed in a little oil with some salt. If you aren't growing your own, keep an eye out at your local farmer's markets in spring; the season is short and I've never seen them in a grocery store.
To plant, we broke apart the individual cloves and picked out the largest ones to use. I planted them an inch deep, about 4-6 inches apart.
|Take that, vamps!|
Now we cover them over, mulch, and wait until spring to harvest and cure.
|We all like to have something to sink our fangs into.|