Just as the gardening season is winding down is the perfect time to plant a kitchen favorite: garlic. Garlic is typically planted in the fall before the first freeze, and then it’s harvest the following spring or summer. While you may be eager to get into your season of rest, don’t overlook this important planting. Here are some tips for getting your best crop ever.

1. Time It Right

When you plant garlic will depend on the seasonality of your area. You want to aim for planting four to five weeks before your first freeze, so look at your average first frost date and work backwards accordingly. You may see the stalks begin to sprout through the soil before cold weather hits, and that is OK.

2. Prepare Your Cloves

Break apart a head of garlic into the cloves and select the largest ones for planting. Avoid store-bought garlic, as it’s often treated to prevent sprouting. Instead, get your bulbs from a trusted farm or nursery. Leave the skin in tact, as the clove will need this for protection, and identify the pointy side of the clove—this will need to be pointing up when you go to plant.

3. Give Garlic Its Space

Cloves will need to go 3 inches into the ground and spaced 10 inches apart for good root development. For even spacing, use measuring tape to measure distances and use a hoe to poke a hole in the ground where each clove will be dropped.

4. Feed, Water & Make It Cozy

Give your newly planted garlic cloves plenty of water. You can also include a slow release fertilizer if you desire, but compost and/or a compost tea will most likely be all your plants need. Apply mulch over the site where you planted is also optional.

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