Garlic is one of the beloved, versatile ingredients that adds a wonderful flavor to many recipes. It is also famous for its health benefits, including supporting immune system functioning, supplying the body with antioxidants, and lowering cholesterol.
That said, if you love garlic, growing your own is the best way to go. It is easy to grow, even for absolute beginners.
If you are in Colorado and are considering planting garlic, you may want to know when is the right time to plant. This post will discuss everything you need to know about growing garlic, including when to plant, to help you plan accordingly.
When is the right time to plant garlic in Colorado?
Garlic originated from Central Asia in a climate that’s very close to Colorado. As such, growing this flavorsome crop here is hassle-free.
Keeping that in mind, the best time to plant garlic in Colorado is in the fall, between September and October, when the soil is still warm and day temperature encourages root growth. Generally, garlic needs to be planted in a garden that gets about six hours of sunlight a day. Providing a light shade during the hottest part of the day is fine, and may even cause the garlic to produce slightly larger bulbs.
Importantly, while you can plant garlic in other seasons, fall creates ideal conditions for garlic to establish itself before the onset of winter. When planted in the fall, it will germinate before winter sets in and the green shoots will remain dormant throughout winter.
Garlic is one of the unique crops that must vernalize to produce well. Thankfully, the winters of Colorado give garlic the cold period it needs before it continues growing in the spring. During the winter, garlic vernalizes, which accelerates bulbing of the head.
To ensure your garlic gives desirable yields, you will need well-drained, rich, loose soil, not Colorado’s clay soil.
What type of Garlic can you plant in Colorado?
There are three varieties of garlic – hardneck, softneck, and elephant – each with its own characteristics.
Hardneck garlic is generally hardier and does better in harsh, northern climates. Although the varieties tend to form fewer cloves per bulb compared to softneck, they are loved because of their larger, more flavorful cloves.
Farmers in Colorado will have better success in growing hardneck varieties. They come in many colors but are more likely to be purple, purple stripped, or white.
Gardeners should also note that hardneck varieties produce scapes that develop into bulbils. While the scapes are edible, you should cut them off immediately after appearing so as to retain energy for the bulb to develop.
Softneck varieties, on the other hand, produce more cloves per bulb but are smaller in size. They do better in mild climates, so they are not perfect for Colorado gardeners. Even so, they are common in grocery stores because they have a longer shelf life. Unfortunately, they can’t rival the flavors of hardneck varieties.
The last type is elephant garlic. Although the varieties make for the biggest garlic, the cloves have the most mild flavor. As such, they should be the last option when picking garlic to plant Colorado.
How to plants and grow garlic
Growing garlic in Colorado is not the hardest thing one can do. It is best planted in fall for a summer harvest.
Before planting, you will need to locate a sunny spot and amend the soil with organic compost to make it rich and loose so that garlic roots may penetrate deep; otherwise, the bulbs won’t grow as large.
When done with preparing your garden, look for a quality organic garlic and carefully break the bulb into cloves. Place the cloves up to 2 inches deep and six inches apart, with the pointed ends up. At the end of the day, you will have a professional-looking garden.
Importantly, how to plant garlic can vary from one variety to another. For this reason, remember to follow the instructions that suit that particular variety you are planting.
After planting, consider adding a layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and warm. Remember to water regularly, but without making the soil wet; while garlic is easy to grow, it can rot easily.
How long your garlic stores depends on variety, but generally, six months will be okay.
Garlic is easy to grow, which makes it an excellent option for beginner gardeners. What’s more, the Colorado climate provides stellar conditions for garlic to flourish and produce larger bulbs. If you’re a garlic lover planning to grow your own garlic in Colorado, hopefully, this post will help you plant garlic successfully and at the right time in this region.
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