Garlic is a cool-season crop that is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. It will tolerate some light frost but should be mulched to protect it from severe cold. While garlic needs some winter chill time to produce big bulbs, excessive cold can cause cloves to separate before they have formed large enough clove buds. If the ground is frozen when you plant garlic, then break up the soil and thoroughly work in some compost or other organic matter. This article will answer the question, ‘When to Plant Garlic in Missouri?’
When to Plant Garlic in Missouri?
When to Plant Garlic in Missouri? You can plant garlic anytime before the ground freezes, but mid-October is usually considered the best time. This gives cloves enough time (about six weeks) to develop a good root system before cold winter weather sets in.
In central Missouri, plant cloves from mid-October through mid-November.
In southern Missouri, you can plant as early as September, but plan on harvesting smaller bulbs.
Garlic Soil Prep
Garlic prefers loose, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. With adequate drainage, it will winter over even if planted late in the fall.
A heavy clay soil may require addition of sand to improve the drainage. Avoid planting in low areas where cold air tends to settle. Garlic is not tolerant of salty soil or soil that has been fertilized recently with high amounts of nitrogen, so you may want to till under any grass or weed-meal that was applied late in the season before planting.
Planting Depth and Space Plant garlic about three times as deep as the length of the clove (or bulb). If you break an individual clove in half, it will usually have a bud and a root end. Plant the root-end side down about 4 to 6 inches deep. If you plan to harvest 2-year-old garlic, plant cloves 12 inches apart in all directions (rows about 18 to 24 inches apart ).
When to Plant Garlic in Missouri: Planting Methods
To plant garlic in rows, mark off the desired spacing and then use a spading fork to dig planting holes. Set the bulbs into the bottom of each hole with the root-end down and cover with about 3 inches of soil . Water well after planting and continue to water through fall and winter if rainfall is inadequate.
Planting Garlic Cloves in MO
Another planting method is to plant individual cloves directly into the garden bed. This method is good if you have an established vegetable garden, but don’t want to disturb the soil by tilling up new ground. Simply push each clove into the soil about 4 inches deep and then mulch or cover with straw until spring.
Plant Multiple Cloves for Bigger Bulbs and More Risk of Failure
You can plant more than one clove in the same hole if you like, but expect smaller bulbs and a higher risk of bulb failure (single cloves often do better). You can also space them closer together. If you choose this method, experiment to find the optimum spacing and population for your garden site.
Plant in the fall, before the ground freezes, and then cover with a layer of mulch to protect from cold. Harvest during summer.
For small bulbs, harvest when the tops begin to die back naturally (usually by June).
Check periodically to determine if all the tops have died back. After the plant has completely dried up, gently dig up the bulbs and brush off loose soil. Storing should begin immediately.
For large bulbs , check periodically during the summer to see if the outer skins have begun to loosen. If they have, you can harvest as soon as this occurs, or you can leave them in the ground to grow larger.
Harvesting Garlic Bulbs
When harvesting garlic for storage, allow the leaves to dry out completely and then gently lift the bulbs out of the ground. Removing the leaves may reduce possible storage problems, but is not necessary if you plan on using or selling them immediately.
How to Store Garlic
Make sure you wait until your garlic is dry before storing it in a warm, dark place with good air circulation (preferably not in a cellar). You can hang it in nets or braids or you can braid the tops and then lay them out on screens. If air circulation is poor, your garlic will rot.
Conclusion: When to Plant Garlic in Missouri
Fall is the Best time to Plant Garlic in Missouri. Plant your garlic in the fall in MO. Hopefully this article will set you up for success this growing season.
Related article: When to plant garlic + growing guide