The fall is the perfect time to plant garlic in your garden. Compared to spring-planted garlic, fall garlic produces larger bulbs, matures earlier, and often has fewer disease problems. Additionally, certain types of garlic, mainly hard-neck types like Rocambole, will not mature in time from spring planting.
Of the three types of garlic, soft-neck garlic is the type most often found in supermarkets. It stores for a number of months and can be braided into attractive hangings. Alternatively, hard-neck types store for a much shorter time but have a much more pungent flavor. Elephant garlic, a member of the leek family, is an extremely mild-flavored garlic. The individual cloves can often be 2 inches wide and are great for roasting. In areas where summers are cool and damp, elephant garlic is an excellent choice.
In the springtime, when the green tips start to emerge, garlic should be side-dressed with fertilizer again. Place the fertilizer 2 inches away from the row and lightly scratch it into the soil. During the growing season, keep garlic evenly watered. If this is not possible, keep a mulch on the soil around the plants to help conserve water in between waterings.
The hard-neck types of garlic usually send up flowering heads. Although beautiful, these heads should be removed as they drain energy from the bulbs. The heads can be added to stir-fries for a mild garlic taste. For more information on recipes and using garlic, try the Garlic Page.
When the tops turn yellow, stop watering and allow the bulbs to cure in the soil for 2 weeks. Harvest the garlic by pulling the whole plant out of the soil, tying the leaves together, and then placing the bulbs on a rack in a warm, dry spot. Soft-neck garlic can be braided and hung forRead more on backyardgardener.com